Sam Johnson's replica S-38 Carnauba, built
to recreate his father's 1935 Brazil expedition.
May 28, 2004 - AOPA and general aviation lost a true friend this past weekend when Samuel C. Johnson of the Johnson Wax company, now called S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., passed away. He was 76.
Johnson was a member of AOPA for more than 50 years. AOPA President Phil Boyer wrote letters of condolence on behalf of all AOPA members to his wife, Imogene, and family.
Like many of his generation, Sam Johnson learned to fly in a J-3 Cub. He was type-rated in jets and flew his personal Cessna Caravan late into his life. As AOPA found out for a pilot profile in AOPA Pilot magazine, Johnson remained passionate about flying throughout his life. In the mid-1990s, he commissioned a replica of the Sikorsky S-38 flying boat, dubbed the Carnauba, that his father had used for a 1935 expedition to Brazil. Johnson later said the replica had become his favorite aircraft out of the several that he owned.
Johnson was also a vocal advocate for Chicago's now-destroyed Meigs Field. When Mayor Richard M. Daley first tried to close the airport in the mid-1990s, Johnson reminded Daley about all the business his company brought to Chicago every time one of its corporate aircraft landed at Meigs.
"Sam Johnson truly believed in the value of general aviation," said Boyer. "His company maintained a sizable fleet of aircraft to take full advantage of GA's benefits.
"Mr. Johnson will be sorely missed."