Frank F. Johnson, 75, passed away Monday, January 7, 2019, at Sheridan Manor, surrounded by his loving family.  Though he was born in Utah, to Jesse F. and Geneva Dwyer Johnson, and spent his early childhood there, he considered Sheridan to be his home, and was always happy to return here.  He was a baptized member of Immanuel Lutheran church, where he received the message of forgiveness of sins and life eternal through Jesus Christ.

He attended grade school and high school in Sheridan, graduated from Sheridan College, and attended the University of Wyoming.  While in Laramie, he pursued two of his interests, theater and sky diving.  He was jump master of the UW sky diving club, the Plunging Parrots, and logged jumps in Sheridan, Buffalo, Laramie, and Ft. Collins, Colorado.  He participated in many theater productions in Sheridan and Laramie, acting, technical directing, and directing plays for college and for the Sheridan Civic Theater Guild.

In 1960 he joined the Army National Guard, and after graduating from Officer Candidate School, earned the rank of Second Lieutenant.

Frank met his future wife, Karen Barker, at Sheridan College, and they were married in 1966 in Sheridan.  They were blessed with two children, Tenly in 1969, and Jess in 1972.

From boyhood Frank loved being outdoors, especially when he was hunting or fishing.  He and school mate Richard Anderson tied flies as junior high students, even starting a little business, Frinchy’s Flies.  In 1974 Rich and Frank joined forces to open Streamside Anglers, a fly fishing shop in Missoula, Montana.  Later Frank and family returned to Sheridan, where he worked with Bill Grunkemeyer at Grunko Films, producing hunting, fishing, and outdoor films.  His passion for the Big Horn River in Montana led him to his career there as a guide and professional fly tyer with the Big Horn Trout Shop.  He loved his Ft. Smith family, both co-workers and clients, and developed close, life-long friendships with them.  He was most interested in promoting the arts of fly fishing and fly tying, as well as in conserving and protecting rivers and fish.  To that end he was active in developing the Big Horn River Alliance, and becoming involved with the FFF, now renamed the Fly Fishers International.  He was a frequent guest tyer and demonstrator at FFI regional conclaves in the Rocky Mountain area, and occasionally in California.  In 1984 he was awarded the Buz Buszek Memorial Fly Tying Award, an annual national recognition of one fly tyer who has contributed significantly to the art of fly tying, and in 2011 he was also awarded the Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award by the FFI.

Frank treasured his family: his widowed mother Geneva, his dear sister Elaine and her family, his wife, children, and grandchildren, and all those in-laws.  He loved sharing with his children his knowledge of the outdoors and his love of building things.  Those children and grandchildren were a constant source of great delight and pride for him.  We all will miss his sense of humor, his determination and perseverance, and his love and attention.  Even when he was ill and at Sheridan Manor, he was busy teasing, caring, and laughing with staff and residents; his family is grateful for the care he received and the friendships he made there.

Frank was preceded in death by his parents Jesse F. Johnson and O. Geneva Dwyer Johnson.  He is survived by his wife Karen of Sheridan, his son Jess of Sheridan, his daughter Tenly Mabrouk (Tim Hall) and grandchildren Sophie, Malek and Gabriel Mabrouk of Vancouver, Washington, his sister Elaine Turley of Kempner, Texas, several nieces and nephews, and numerous cousins.

Cremation has taken place, and a memorial service will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1300 West Fifth Street in Sheridan, on Friday January 11, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. with Pastors Paul Cain and Rene’ Castillero officiating.  A luncheon will immediately follow at the church.  Interment to follow the luncheon in the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery with military honors.  Memorials in Frank’s name may be sent to any of the following organizations:

  • Immanuel Lutheran Church in Sheridan
  • The Fly Tying Group of the Fly Fishers International, 5237 US Highway 89 South, Livingston, Montana 59047
  • The Big Horn River Alliance, P.O. Box 7884, Ft. Smith, Montana 59035
  • Joey’s Flyfishing Foundation, 109 S. Main, Sheridan Wyoming 82801


Online condolences may be written at  Arrangements are under the direction of Champion Funeral Home.

Sheridan & Johnson County Obituaries