Warning – not for the delicate: Johnny David Lichens lived life on his own terms and thumbed his nose at convention and propriety. He drank and smoked, hunted and fished, chased women and cut down a lot of trees. He passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, April 11, 2013, and we honor his memory with respect and laughter.
Johnny was born in Yreka on April 4, 1949. Raised in Klamath River, he graduated from Happy Camp High School in 1967.
Johnny loved the mountains and lived as lawlessly as possible, like a Waylon Jennings song. An avid hunter, he could track and bring down deer in any season. Borders and boundaries had little meaning and Johnny spent most of his life carousing in the small towns of Northern California and Southern Oregon. He was a gifted faller (he liked to call himself a tramp logger) and swelled with pride at swaths of his clear-cutting work you could see from the highway – environmentalists be damned.
The women in his life were numerous. He loved and challenged his mother, Evelyn Lichens, who had her hands full raising him with his brother, Larry. He had immense respect for her. He was blessed with two feisty daughters, Tina Lichens and Jolene White, and took great pride in teaching them the meaning of a 'practical joke' at a young age. He loved and frustrated (exasperated?) several wives, daughters, step-daughters, grandchildren, step-grandchildren and friends.
Johnny joined the Army after high school and was stationed in Germany and Vietnam. He talked often of his love for Germany – the mountains, the beer, the schnitzel and the women (in that order). Johnny had no such love for Vietnam. He completed three tours there and was awarded three purple hearts and shrapnel souvenirs that he kept in his back. As he put it, "It was in my back because I was running in the right direction – AWAY."
In the later years of his life, few things gave Johnny more joy than teasing his grandchildren. His mother, Evelyn, daughter, Jolene, and her children, Leah, Michelle, Matthew, Bailey and Sierra, all helped care for him and spoiled him severely. He was quite fond of fast food and loved to have his grandchildren take him out to eat so that he could sit for hours gambling and socializing with them.
Johnny will forever be remembered by his mother, Evelyn "Lang" Lichens; his children, Tina Lichens and Jolene White; his brothers, Larry Lichens and Jim Lichens; and his six grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father, Bob Lichens.
Friends and family who knew him are invited to honor his memory with a kind thought and a can of cheap beer.