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RIP Steve Johnson
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May 9, 2013
We at LaFrontera East are saddened by the death of our co worker. Let it be known that Steve was a very compassionate and caring clinician that positively impacted hundreds of individuals in our community. He was devoted to climbing as well as helping others. He will be missed by those he served and those that worked with him. I considered him not only a fellow colleague but a friend as well. May his loyal dog Buster rest in peace with him.
Bob D.

Rock Climbing Photo: Atop Mt. Lemmon July 2012
Atop Mt. Lemmon July 2012

Rock Climbing Photo: Climb on Mt. Lemmon July 2012
Climb on Mt. Lemmon July 2012

Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Lemmon July 2012
Mt. Lemmon July 2012
Bob D.
Joined May 9, 2013
0 points
May 9, 2013
I meet Steve at beanfest many years ago. Talia and I stayed up for hours by the camp fire chatting with Steve and Ryan. I ran into him many times at the stronghold, lemmon and the gym; every time I ran into Steve he was full of life and had a huge smile across his face. Hands down one of the nicest individuals I have ever meet. You will be missed Steve.

I'm so proud to have been apart of such an amazing climbing community who stops everything to take care of one of their own. Eric and crew your actions are an inspiration for all and I am proud to call you guys my friends. Great work.

If there is anything I can do let me know. If you need to get out of Tucson and let off some stress my home in Vegas will always have an open door.

Sending good vibes and love to everyone.
Mike Dudley
From Vegas
Joined Nov 28, 2008
110 points
May 10, 2013
I received a call this evening from Paul, a friend and climbing partner who lives on the east coast and travels here on occasion for work. He remembered meeting Steve at Batline with Angel and I. It was a great day. Mike Diesen
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Joined Oct 16, 2006
365 points
May 10, 2013
I consider myself lucky to have known Steve for the time that I did.

In a nutshell, Steve was an all around good guy. He was always happy to see you, always had something positive to say, and was always willing to help you. He was a generous and genuine individual. He loved sharing his passion about climbing, and life in general. Like the rest of us he wasn't perfect, but he was honest, caring, and authentic - all things that we could use more of.

Steve made this world a little better of a place, and I like to think that it is our job to do that now. I feel that it is the best thing we can do to honor his life.
"Canada" Eric Ruljancich
Joined Apr 14, 2007
315 points
May 10, 2013
Very sad news. Steve and I were climbing buddies for many years in my early twenties. Shared many epic adventures- all nighters stuck on the wall during monsoon season, bad falls, singing in the rain on approaches. He was a great friend and I'm sorry he's gone.

I would like to go to the memorial service- if someone can let me know when and where, I would appreciate it.

My condolences to his family.

Joined May 10, 2013
0 points
May 12, 2013
Though Steve and I had a bit of bad blood after the "poaching " incident, the last few times I saw him in the parking lot he was always smiling as we shook hands and I petted his cool little dog.
He was an asset to the local climbing community and I'm sorry we never got to hook up and do a few new routes as a team.
He will be missed but will live on in our memories every time we climb one of his routes.
Joined Feb 24, 2006
1,305 points
May 12, 2013
Steve was one of the kindest, most decent people I've ever met. I'm grateful for having known him. JoeS
Joined Jan 5, 2008
160 points
May 13, 2013
Very sad to hear this, my condolences to Steve's family. Andrew Kornylak
From GA
Joined Jul 4, 2003
25 points
May 14, 2013
Thank you everyone for your supportive words and fond memories of my Dad. Seeing these pictures and reading your stories has been immensely helpful for me personally.

There will be a memorial service for Steve Johnson at Catalina United Methodist Church this Thursday, 5/16 at 5 p.m. The ceremony will be small with a reception to follow. All who would like to attend are more than welcome.

Catalina United Methodist Church
2700 East Speedway Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85716
From Tucson, Arizona
Joined Jun 21, 2007
343 points
May 14, 2013
Thanks for the invite Ryan. It's a school night for my daughter but I'll try to make it up. If not, my thoughts will most certainly be with you. Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Joined Sep 13, 2006
390 points
May 15, 2013
I just wanted to send some love and positive thoughts to Steve's family and those that knew him as well as the entire climbing community, it's such a devastating loss.

I also want to add that while we as a group sometimes bicker about a bolt placement or some other trivial thing, we are all one large extended family and we trust each other with our lives on a daily basis which is something we should never lose sight of.
Adam Block
From Tucson, AZ
Joined Jul 5, 2008
1,155 points
May 15, 2013
Met Steve at the Stronghold on several occasions. He always had a smile on his face...he will be greatly missed.

Condolences to the family.

From Rio Rancho, NM
Joined Mar 16, 2009
25 points
Jun 6, 2013
I have been out of Tucson for years and just talked to Brian Benedon tonight. I remember Steve well. I can barely remember climbing together, but I clearly remember his immense psych for first assents. I am glad he had so many successes with so many people. I am deeply saddened to have never had the opportunity to see him lately. I would have truly enjoyed hearing about all his FA's. I will miss him. So sad to hear his passing. He was one nice person, and one solid climbing partner. marktcolby
Joined Nov 17, 2011
0 points
Jul 12, 2013
I am heart sick to learn of the death of my good friend, Steve Johnson. I met Steve 16 years ago, when we worked together at Carondelet Hospital. We became fast friends, and he is a very important person in my life. I met, & spent some time with, his 3 kids: Devin, Kyle, & Ryan, when they were very young. I also know his mother, & some of his siblings. I moved away from Tucson 14 years ago, but have always kept in touch with Steve, either meeting in person on vacation, or by phone. While I hadn't seen Steve in a few years, we had been texting every couple of months to keep in touch. I recently lost all of my phone contacts, as they had been accidentally deleted. I was thinking about Steve, & hoping he would contact me so I could get his phone number back into my phone, as I had not written any of his info down. In this day of technology, I stopped keeping a written address book. I hadn't heard from Steve, but I wasn't completely surprised because it was sometimes a couple of months before our next check-in. What with stuff going on in my own life, it wasn't until now that I realized it had been far too long since we last spoke. I "googled" Steve's name to see if I could get a phone # for him (it hadn't occurred to me to call La Frontera), and was SHOCKED to see all of the news stories relaying the horrible news of his death! I had never expected to see such a thing, and I am deeply shaken by this news. I wish Steve's family would have gone through his phone contacts & sent messages to people informing them of this news, as I would definitely have been there for his memorial service. As it is, I can find no other info on his funeral arrangements, where he is buried, etc. so I can pay my respects. This Mountain Project website is the only source of info I could find relating to a memorial that was held in May, but there is nothing about where he is buried, or if he is buried. If anyone knows, please tell me, as I would like to come to Tucson and visit the gravesite. My condolences to the family & climbing community. I know Steve's death is a tragedy and a great loss to you all, matched only by the empty hole in my heart & in my life now that I know, sadly, that I will not see Steve again. Judith
Joined Jul 12, 2013
0 points
Jul 14, 2013

My condolences on the loss of your friend. I know the family had just about all they could deal with putting together the memorial and certainly didn't mean to leave anyone out. You can contact Kyle, whose number is in his post on page 1, for more information.

From Duvall, WA
Joined Sep 22, 2008
50 points
Jul 16, 2013
July 16, 2013.

My colleagues and I at LaFrontera have been dealing with the loss of Steve, our friend and colleague, for the past two months. One of the things I managed to get done was to have a 1600 pound boulder brought to the site at 4891 E Grant. We are currently working on producing a memorial plaque to be placed on the rock. The day the rock was delivered to the site was a very good day for my friends and I at work, and the rock now looks like it has always been there. I also have a small memorial on my cubicle desk consisting of a 20 pound stone I brought back from Mt. Hopkins very near from the site Steve died, and various other artifacts that speak to what Steve meant to me. I also had a black marble plaque made which is sitting at my desk. Im not very good at this sort of thing, but will try and attach a scan of said plaque. anyone that would like to come down to my site and look at the rock and speak to me or others, feel free to do so. I have found that sharing our thoughts and our memories of him has been very helpful in the continuing process of our grief.

"Re-examine all you have been told. Dismiss what insults your soul"
Walt Whitman
Rock Climbing Photo: Memorial Plaque
Memorial Plaque
Joined Jul 16, 2013
0 points
Jul 16, 2013
Bravo for you folks at La Frontera.
We should all be so lucky to have such good friends and colleagues.

I can't think of a more fiting memorial than a big granite chunk.
Paul Davidson
Joined Jan 22, 2007
585 points
Jul 29, 2013
Bravo indeed! Steve would get a kick out of having a big chunk of stone placed in his honor. I can imagine he is looking down thinking "I'd be bouldering on that during my lunchbreaks if I were still there." Miss that guy... Kirk Hutchinson
Joined May 29, 2012
0 points
Dec 23, 2013
That is so tragic. It has been many years since I lived in Tucson. I did not know Steve but the Tucson climbing community is tight. This loss is surely deeply felt.

My condolences to his family and friends.
Michael Jimmerson
Joined Mar 27, 2013
0 points
Dec 23, 2013
my sincere condolences. May his spirit live on... Jonny 5
From Squamish BC
Joined Aug 6, 2013
1,185 points
Jan 11, 2014

See page 2. Miss you buddy.
Kirk Hutchinson
Joined May 29, 2012
0 points
Jun 4, 2015
It has now been over two years since our brother Steve died with his pup Buster.

Steve and I had often spoken of the need for an entity to encourage responsible exploration of our nation's natural and cultural resources. It has taken these two years to deal with his death and frame what that might look like. The Steven Wallace Johnson Center for Popular Stewardship is now in formation. It will be launched during a radio interview on 14 June 2015. See

I would like to use some of the photos that were posted on this site and any others the members might have. You will note that I have already included two photos from this site. I will happily take them down if an owner objects.

Please contact me at with photos or stories about Steve and has love of the outdoors that we might use to tell his story and explain the purpose, vision and mission of the Center. Thanks......ken
Kenneth Johnson
Joined May 27, 2015
0 points
Jun 8, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: this how real men do it
this how real men do it

Rock Climbing Photo: red rocks
red rocks

Rock Climbing Photo: tunnel vision
tunnel vision

Rock Climbing Photo: got gear
got gear

Rock Climbing Photo: gettin after it; Snow Blind 9+
gettin after it; Snow Blind 9+

Rock Climbing Photo: thanks for all the unforgettable great times Steve...
thanks for all the unforgettable great times Steve, you are always in my thoughts

Rock Climbing Photo: the GM
the GM
brian benedon
Joined Jul 28, 2010
900 points
Jun 9, 2015
Thanks so much for sharing those! Some great shots there. Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Joined Sep 13, 2006
390 points
Jun 10, 2015
@brian bendon, the first pic, a very recognizable spot, nice. canyonwren
Joined Aug 26, 2014
15 points

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