Marine from Central Point dies in Iraq

A Marine from the Rogue Valley has died in Iraq.

Lance Cpl. Robert "Robby" Johnson, 21, the son of Brad Johnson and stepson of Marie Johnson, of Central Point, died Saturday.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday that two U.S. military personnel died Saturday in non-combat incidents but did not identify Johnson or provide any other information. His family confirmed his death on Wednesday but had no other details.

"He was a very kind, loving and respectful son," Marie Johnson said. "He got along with everybody, young and old alike. He was a people person.

"But he also loved the outdoors — camping, fishing, hunting, riding horses," she added.

A 2005 graduate of Crater High School, who wrestled in middle school and played football in his early years at Crater, he joined the Marine Corps in September 2005, she said. He was a member of the Table Rock Fellowship, she added.

The Marine had come home on leave in July before being deployed for his second tour of Iraq in August. He and his wife, Elizabeth, were married in March.

"It's really hard for everyone," Marie Johnson said of talking about details of his life. "He had lots and lots of friends."

One was Mike Evans of Central Point, a longtime family friend.

"He was a really good kid," Evans said. "I've known him all his life. I taught him to fish and hunt. We went to most of the local lakes around here, fishing for trout and bass.

"Robby really liked to fish," he added. "I was getting ready to write him a letter to tell him the next time he came home we would go fishing...

"I never got to write that letter," he said. "We will miss him a lot."

Family and friends are devastated by the news, Evans said.

The burial is planned for the Rose Hills Cemetery in Whittier, Calif., beginning at 1 p.m. Jan. 2. A memorial service will be held at the Table Rock Fellowship at a later date, according to the family.

Survivors include his mother and stepfather Carol and Phil Benker of Yorba Linda, Calif.; brothers William and Richard Johnson of Central Point, sister DeAnna Lount of Central Point and paternal grandmother Kathy Johnson of Rogue River.

"He also had a four-year-old nephew, Theo, who meant the world to him," Marie Johnson said, "and he had numerous aunts, uncles and cousins in Nevada and Washington who will miss him a lot."

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