Beloved Registrar Passes Away Having Filled a Multitude of Roles Over Three Decades
Colleagues say he personified all that was Drew.
Longtime registrar Rev. Barent Johnson passed away on September 25 in his retirement community in Basking Ridge, N.J. He was 92 years old.
Johnson arrived at Drew in 1962 after serving as pastor of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Connecticut. He first taught as a fellow in the philosophy department, then was appointed university registrar in 1964. After receiving an honorary degree from Drew in 1984, he retired in 1986.
“It was most unusual for a registrar to be given an honorary degree,” says Drew President Vivian A. Bull, “but that was in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Drew’s academic community.”
He later returned to Drew as archivist in 1988, serving until 1993.
Johnson personified Drew, say former colleagues, noting both his erudition and devotion to the institution. He is remembered for having approached his work as a calling, not just a career, acting on what he believed was in the best interest of the students and the college long term.
Johnson was born in Aberdeen, Wash., and was raised in Silverton, Colo., by his maternal grandparents after his mother’s early death. He attended the College of Puget Sound, where he met his future wife, Geraldine. After college he and his wife moved to Illinois where he enrolled in Garrett Biblical Institute (now Garrett Evangelical Seminary) in Evanston. Then he attended Yale University, earning a doctorate of religion.
He leaves behind a daughter, Kathleen, and several nieces and nephews.
Information about a memorial service will be made available shortly.