Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Pride 2008

April 24, 2008

Doug Johnson: Still cheerleading for literacy

TAMPA, FLA. — Inner peace never leaves Doug Johnson for too long.

The Lockport, N.Y., native’s name and face were readily recognized in his hometown newspaper for the better part of 40 years, thanks to his regular good deeds on behalf of the community.

Johnson, a financial consultant, established a reputation as a champion of literacy in Lockport. In 1988, in remembrance of his late mother, he started “Project Read” to encourage daily reading to children in part by putting books in moms’ and babies’ hands at Lockport Memorial Hospital and Lockport Public Library. Project Read evolved into the children’s summer reading program at the library.

Johnson also was known for giving away personal computers, to places like the library and Washington Hunt Elementary School, in the early 1990s when they were still a relative novelty, and for his regular gifts to the Sister Mary Loretto Memorial Soup Kitchen.

Johnson left Lockport 10 years ago, after his wife Lorraine’s death and his subsequent illness forced him to seek his family’s help raising two small, motherless children.

Today Johnson is remarried, his tots have grown into a teen and pre-teen with bright futures ahead and the family name is still squarely associated with thoughtful philanthropy.

“Lindsay is 15 and driving. She’s an honor student, a freshman in a program similar to International Baccalaureate,” Johnson said. “Zach is 12 and he just took the SATs. He’s a smart little bugger. ... (Lorraine) would be very happy. These kids pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. They’re happy, good kids.”

Johnson characterizes himself as “doing OK” too. He hasn’t worked since he left Lockport — a serious back problem left him unable — but the success of his investments ensures a good home for his family and time for him to give to the Hillsborough County, Florida, school district.

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