Carleton To Hold Service To Honor Wade Bruce Johnson ‘07

June 8, 2009

Northfield, Minn.––Carleton College will hold a community gathering to reflect on the life of recent graduate Wade Bruce Johnson ’07, on Monday, June 8 at 2:45 p.m. in the College’s Skinner Memorial Chapel. Johnson had been missing since May 20 and his body was recovered early Monday morning, June 8, in an avalanche during a recent hiking trek on Mount Gongga in Western Sichuan Province of China.

“We continue to by transformed by the powerful human spirit that has surrounded us,” Susan Johnson, Wade Johnson’s mother, in a statement. “Wade is someone to truly celebrate––and I continue to be amazed as to how vast the network is of the many people who knew and loved him.” The College will also host a full memorial service for Johnson, tentatively set for Friday, June 19 at 10:30 a.m. at Skinner Memorial Chapel. Monday’s service is being held for current students, who are in the midst of final examinations, which run through Monday.

Johnson, a 2007 graduate of Carleton who earned Phi Beta Kappa honors as a chemistry major, was a member of the Carleton Association of Nature and Outdoor Enthusiasts (CANOE House) and a staff member of the rock-climbing wall during his time at Carleton. One of Johnson’s honors was being chosen as Carleton President Robert A. Oden Jr.’s teaching assistant in the renowned Carleton fly-fishing class. He participated in the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and the American Alpine Institute during his years at Carleton and was a wilderness first responder. He spent his semester abroad with Carleton in Australia, and spent six weeks exploring the South Island of New Zealand. His enthusiasm for hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, and snowboarding was unbounded and shared with Erin Addison ‘07, his college sweetheart and soul mate, according to the Johnson family. Wade Johnson was scheduled to begin a Ph.D. chemistry program at the University of Washington this fall, where Addison will begin her second year of medical school.

“Earlier this weekend, we learned the tragic, heart-breaking news of the death of Wade Johnson, ’07, while filming in China. The entire Carleton College community's thoughts and prayers are with Wade's family and friends,” Carleton President Robert A. Oden Jr. said. “It is Wade’s parents, Susan and Bruce, who are foremost in our thoughts as they deal with the death of their son, the death of one so young, so filled with life and hope and dreams. Wade, whom I came to know well when he was my teaching assistant in the annual fly-fishing course I teach at Carleton, was a vibrant, thoughtful, engaged, and caring young man with a wide variety of interests. The Carleton family will miss his spirit of adventure and friendship. The College will work with Wade's family to honor him in ways they feel most appropriate and we will support his family and friends in all ways we can.”

Johnson attended St. Paul Academy in St. Paul, Minn. Wade’s first video project was a high school senior project that was jointly produced with some of his great friends. At Carleton, he honed his skills and produced his first rock climbing video while earning a concentration in film studies. In the fall of 2007, he volunteered his time to produce a documentary for the 25th anniversary of the Minnesota Justice Foundation. While waiting to start graduate school, Wade applied for a filmmaking internship at Sender Films and by February 2008, he was part of the crew––filming, editing and enjoying the work at Sender Films in Boulder, Colo. It was during his work with Sender Films on a project that took him to China recently.

Those wishing to make a donation to Carleton in Wade's honor may do so by sending it to:
Wade Johnson ’07 Memorial Fund, Gift Accounting, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057