Former Western Golf Association CEO Johnson dies


Donald Johnson, former president and CEO of the Western Golf Association and the Evans Scholars Foundation, died Thursday at his home in Illinois. He was 77.

Johnson led the WGA and Evans Scholars Foundation from 1988 until his retirement in 2009.

“Don enjoyed a lifelong love of, and respect for, the game of golf,” said John Kaczkowski, current president and CEO of the Western Golf Association. “He was dedicated to giving back to the game through his work with our scholarships and championships, and he clearly has succeeded.”

During his tenure, Johnson led the organization away from the precipice of financial insolvency to a $45 million endowment and providing college scholarships to more than 4,000 men and women.

Johnson, who learned the game in Wisconsin, became a director of the WGA in 1984 before taking over leadership of the organization in 1988.

A memorial service is planned for early June.