Photographs from Walter Johnson's interview and from his personal collection
Born in Nebraska in 1922, Walter Johnson came to Alaska in 1942 to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks. After meeting Bill English at the university, who was originally from Wiseman, Walter got to know and visit the community. With a concern for history, he and Bill bought the Wiseman Trading Company, and he lived off and on in Wiseman for seven years starting in 1945. Walter is an expert on the history of the Wiseman area. After completing bachelor degrees in Anthropology and Biology from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks in 1948, he went to medical school at the University of Nebraska and returned to Alaska as a member of the medical staff of the Bethel Hospital in 1954. In 1956, Dr. Johnson was commissioned as an officer in the U. S. Public Health Service, practicing in Anchorage and Bethel. He helped establish the Community Health Aide Program, which trained local people to be medical providers in their small, rural communities, and was medical director at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. Dr. Johnson retired in 1987 and moved to Homer where he has a large vegetable and flower garden and small apple and cherry orchard. Interviews with Walter Johnson appear in the Gates of the Arctic Project Jukebox and the Community Health Aides Program Project Jukebox. Dr. Walter Johnson passed away on June 27, 2015. For more about Dr. Walter Johnson, see his obituary in the Homer News newspaper.