UT War Historian Charles Johnson Dies

KNOXVILLE — Dr. Charles W. Johnson, University of Tennessee associate professor emeritus of history and noted war historian, died Monday at Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge. He was 65.

Johnson, who lived in Clinton, founded UT’s Center for the Study of War and Society in 1988 and directed it until retiring from UT in 1998.

He led UT’s Veterans History Project in 1984, gathering interviews from World War II veterans to be archived in UT’s Special Collections Library.

Johnson also helped establish UT’s Normandy Scholars Program in 1992, an honors program that enables students to study abroad.

“Chuck was a terrific friend and colleague and the kind of faculty member that we all aspire to be,” said Dr. John Finger, UT history department head who knew Johnson for more than 30 years.

“He will be remembered fondly by UT faculty and several generations of students.”

Johnson received all three of his degrees from the University of Michigan. He earned the Ph.D. in 1965 and came to UT that same year.

Johnson was a UT National Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1985. He wrote numerous works on military and social topics, and co-authored “City Behind a Fence: A History of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.”

He is survived by his wife, Joan; sister Marge Saari; two stepsons; and three grandchildren.

Friends may call from 2-3 p.m., Thursday, at Grace Lutheran Church in Oak Ridge. Memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. at the church. Weatherford Mortuary in Oak Ridge is handling arrangements.