A celebration to honor Than Johnson, retiring from CRSI after 36 years, will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at CRSI (building in the back), 1150 Scioto St., Urbana.
Scott DeLong, the staff and board of CRSI are hosting the reception and invite the public to join them in celebrating his career and wishing him well on his retirement.
Johnson is a life-long resident of Champaign County. The Johnson Family Maple Syrup farm still is active after over 200 years of operation.
Johnson and his wife Kathy have three sons and five grandsons. He is a graduate of Wilmington College with graduate studies at Miami University.
He started his career as a teacher and coach. His immersion into the field of developmental disabilities started in the 1970s as supervisor and houseparent of the Preble County Board of DD residential program.
In 1976 he served as one of the founders of CRSI, an honor he holds today as the last surviving trustee of the original CRSI Board of Trustees.
He then joined the Ohio Department of DD in serving as the Community Preparation Coordinator for Orient State Institution.
In 1982, Johnson returned to Champaign County as the CEO for CRSI and remains in that position until the end of 2019. At that time, CRSI was serving 12 individuals with disabilities with nearly 15 staff positions. CRSI now serves nearly 600 individuals with nearly 1,000 staff positions.
During his term with CRSI, he served as president of the national association (ANCOR) and was appointed by President George Bush to the National Medicaid/Medicare Council.
He served as the president of the state association (OPRA) in leading its activities with state and federal public policy and budget formation. Johnson has provided public testimony before the U.S. Congress and Ohio state legislature.
His career has spanned the move from institutional care to community-based services such as those provided by CRSI for individuals with disabilities.
He has served 3 terms on the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce as its president. He has been a member of the CIC/CEP for numerous years.
Johnson served 3 terms on the Clark State Community College Board with appointments by both Governors Voinovich and Taft.
He was on the Board of Trustees at Urbana University when the merger with Franklin University occurred.
He also served as both fundraiser and president for Champaign Family YMCA and was one of the originators of the Champaign County Transportation Services. He assisted the county commissioners in the sale of the Champaign County Home to Vancrest to preserve the service and nearly 100 job positions.
Speaking of Champaign County, Johnson said, “I’ve been very fortunate to live and work in my home county and also participate in making Champaign County such a wonderful place to live, raise families and enjoy life.”
He talked about the industry and evolution of DD services. “I have been blessed to lead an organization (CRSI) that has impacted local, state and federal policy that improved the lives of so many individuals with disabilities as we moved from dehumanizing state institutions to community based services.
“It was never work. It was a mission,” he said.
While there are things he will miss, he says he looks forward to having more time for other pursuits. “I will miss working with all the staff and board of CRSI and my son, Lance. I intend to stay involved in our field for individuals with disabilities at both the state and federal level for as long as I can be impactful and yet enjoy much more time with Kathy and our families.”
Johnson’s last day will be Dec. 31.
Submitted by CRSI.