Rodney Dean Johnson

Published 12:50 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2023

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January 29, 1953 – December 7, 2023

Wanchese, NC – Rodney Dean Johnson, 70, of Wanchese crossed the bar for his final trip on Thursday, December 7, 2023, at his home in Wanchese surrounded by his loving family. The son of a native Wancheser and a US Navy sailor, Dean was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 29, 1953. He and his family moved back to Wanchese when Dean was a baby. Here he developed his passions for all things fishing, hunting, and sports.

Dean graduated from Manteo High School in 1971 where he played football and baseball. At age 15 he began his fishing career as a mate on several boats out of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center until 1977 when he obtained his captain’s license. For over 23 years he captained several charter boats. In 2000 Dean established Johnson Boatworks and built sport fishing boats himself. His most special hull he took pride in was his very own, the Sea Era. In 2008 he returned to Oregon Inlet Fishing Center with the Sea Era, and began his near-shore charter fishing career.

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In addition to his fishing and boat building careers, Dean was equally passionate about bow hunting. He was an accomplished bow hunter and was highly skilled and respected at sighting and repairing bows for those young and old. Dean followed his passion across the United States and Canada, and fulfilled his lifelong dream of elk hunting in Colorado in 2020.

While Dean loved the water and hunting, his first true love was his wife, Judy, for over 53 years, and his beloved family. He made it his number one priority to be an involved father and grandfather. “Pop” was a regular figure in the bleachers cheering on his children and grandchildren, rarely missing a ball game or dance recital. Dean took pride in his family and passed his legacy down to each generation. He was innovative, had an infectious smile, a hearty laugh, and a quick wit.

Dean is predeceased by his parents, Ralph “Swede” Johnson and Gloria Daniels Johnson, and his brother, Ralph Wayne “Snookie” Johnson. He is survived by his loving wife, Judy Baum Johnson, and his children Billy Dean Johnson, Kelly Shannon (Gavin), Charlotte Hester (Matthew), and grandchildren Alyssa Johnson, Ian Johnson, Aubrie Shannon, and Layden Shannon. He is also survived by his sister Tana Jessen of Castro Valley, California, and many nieces and nephews.

His celebration of life was held on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at Wanchese Assembly of God at 2 p.m. The family received friends and relatives one hour prior at 1 p.m. at the church. A reception with light refreshments followed at the Whole Ministries Center on ER Daniels Road, Wanchese. Private burial will take place at Tillett Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, feel free to make donations in Dean’s memory to the Dare County Boat Builders Foundation ( or Caring House ( Caring House provides housing in Durham, North Carolina for patients undergoing cancer treatment at Duke University. They took excellent care of Dean and Judy during his treatments, for which they are incredibly grateful.

Twiford Funeral Homes, Outer Banks is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories may be shared at