Get to Know:

Mark Johnson

January 2024 | Written by Maribeth Griessel

     Beginning this month, Loren, a new elder, will begin serving a term at Gashland.  Don’t know anyone by the name of Loren, you say?   Well, though Loren is his first name, this gentleman goes by his middle name and is known at GEPC as Mark Johnson.  Born to US Department of Agriculture grain specialist, Don Johnson, and amazing homemaker, Marvel Johnson, Mark was child number 4 of 6, with three older sisters, then one more sister and a little brother.

      Having been born and growing through his early years in Minneapolis, MN, Mark then spent his teen years in northern Virginia, where he would graduate from West Springfield High School, just outside Washington, DC.  As a child he attended Covenant and Evangelical Free denominations.  During his college years, he and the young lady who would become his wife became Presbyterians, identifying with the PCA.

      On his first day of college at the University of Virginia, Mark met a lovely co-ed named Susan Woxholdt, who had moved to Richmond, VA, from her original home on Staten Island, NY.  This couple celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary this past August 23rd.  Their marriage has been blessed with two children.  Daughter, Karen, a Teaching Leader for Bible Study Fellowship, lives in Liberty, MO, with her husband, Joshua Johnson, and their 15 year old daughter, Evelyn.  Son, David, a US Naval Reservist who currently flies for Delta Airlines, is a Florida resident along with his wife, Angela. They keep busy with sons Caleb, 16, twins Luke and Seth, 13, and 9 year old Kyle.

      Mark is currently retired, following a 29 year career as an Air Force officer.  He relates that his most challenging assignment was as Chief of Cadet Medicine for three years at the USAF Academy in Colorado.  By comparison, his most rewarding position was as Medical Group commander at Moody Air Force Base in GA.

      After completing both his BA and MD degrees at the University of Virginia, Mark continued with a residency in Family Medicine and Aerospace Medicine.  Ah, yes, Family Medicine pretty much self-explanatory, Aerospace….not so much.  So Dr. Johnson provided a short crash course.  Aerospace covers a broad span, which he broke down into three areas: 

1. Occupational – to monitor people on base in hazardous occupations; ensure OSHA compliance; overseeing not only physical, but mental/emotional health as well.  

2.  Preventative – to prevent illness from happening, similar to a civilian health department; to monitor food service, including food, water, waste and infection.  

3.  Flight Medicine – this was Mark’s favorite part of Aerospace Medicine – aeronautical or space monitoring for flight safety, keeping pilots healthy and free from injury.

      The Johnsons have lived in the Kansas City area for 11 years, and been members at Gashland for 6 years.  They joined this church because the EPC denomination is very similar to PCA.  And of course they found this congregation to be warm, friendly and offering a personal greeting every Sunday morning.  And of prime importance, the pastors are true to the Word of God.  Mark has served on the Outreach Team/Care Portal for 6 months.  Here is a scripture quiz for our readers: Some of Dr. Johnson’s favorite Bible verses can be found in II Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 43:19; Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Jeremiah 29:11; II Corinthians 5:17 and Revelation 21:5.  How many do you recognize?  If not, look them up.  Additionally, one of Mark’s favorite stories is that of the Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15:11-32.

      Mark Johnson’s professional, as well as volunteer, activities are too numerous to delineate in this brief two page article, but the few listed here give a clear indication of where his heart lies:

* Served as a Mentor to young men in a program called Radical Mentoring

* Established a MAG (Medical Advisory Group) for Advice & Aid Pregnancy Center

* Advisory Board for Christian Medical & Dental Assn. (CMDA)

* Trip to North Macedonia (CMDA) to teach doctors about Hyperbaric medicine; teach about Jesus

* Went to Guatemala (CMDA trip) to treat the sick and hurting, and tell them about Jesus

* Trip to Guatemala (with Gashland, March, 2018) to build cooking stoves and witness about Jesus

* State Director for MO, for the American Academy of Medical Ethics

* Established a MAG for Parkville Women’s Clinic (PWC)

* Established a Fatherhood Mentoring ministry for Parkville Women’s Clinic (PWC)

* Served on Governing Board for Advice & Aid Pregnancy Center (AAPC)

      Mark provided additional information about some of his above-listed activities.  He has been extremely involved with pro-life work, currently at the Parkville Women’s Clinic.  As he noted the importance of addressing the needs of the men who came in with the women seeking the services of the PWC, Dr. Johnson established a fatherhood ministry.  He trained a cadre, 20 guys who would meet with the dad, ask where he might be in his spiritual journey, and let them know they could reach out for help.  Mark continues to serve as a fatherhood mentor.  This clinic is supported by Protestant and Catholic churches, anti-abortion-minded, seeking to serve those deemed “abortion-vulnerable”, or women being pressured to resort to terminating their pregnancies.  The PWC provides a test to confirm the pregnancy, along with an ultrasound if the woman is at least 6 weeks along.  The organization then provides support, not only throughout the pregnancy, but up through the first two years of the child’s life.

      When not pursuing his many volunteer endeavors, Mark very much enjoys road trips with his wife, Susan, by his side.  He enjoys reading, citing Tom Clancy and Chuck Colson as favorite authors.  He also referred to a recently read book, “Beautiful Outlaw”, by John Eldredge, which provides a different slant on the life and Person of Jesus Christ.

      If all of this “Get To Know” information hasn’t convinced you that there is much to learn about Mark Johnson, you might want to shake his hand….the same hand that probably broke some security rules, and could quite possibly have wound up in the brig, when it shook the hand of a POTUS many years ago.  At the time this young Air Force lieutenant was serving an obstetrics rotation at Andrews AFB, a rather impressive looking plane was commencing landing on the airfield.  A curious Lt. Johnson somehow was able to proceed onto the tarmac, and in some unknown course of events, cross paths with, then shake hands with, the serving United States President who is now our oldest living President ever, Jimmy Carter!  Glad this wasn’t a career-ending move on your part, Mark!