Robert Bruce Johnson, 77, died on Saturday, June 8, 2019, at Lynchburg General Hospital with his wife, Genevieve Whittemore by his side. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his brother Barry Johnson, sister Kathryn Stokvis, sons Martin Johnson and Trevor Johnson, daughter Alicia Moyer, granddaughter Isadora Moyer, step-granddaughter Rosemary Lane, nieces Ashley Stokvis and Amanda Corley, and his faithful cat Alfie and dog, GusGus. He was predeceased by his first wife, Dora, his stepson, Dylan Kristian Lane, and his parents, Robert and Virginia Johnson. Bruce was born in Salina, Kansas, on December 14, 1941 and grew up in Minnesota and Illinois. As a teenager, her became an Eagle Scout and attained the Order of the Arrow. While earning his undergraduate degree at Wheaton College, he spent his summers in Alabama selling dictionaries during the height of the civil rights movement. This experience changed his politics forever. He became active in civil rights and promoting fair housing for the poor. He protested the Vietnam War and participated in the march on Washington. He attended the Watergate hearings. He recently told his wife “I hope to live to see Trump out of office.” He attended American University’s School of International Service and received a juris doctorate from Catholic University. During this time, he developed an employment program for underprivileged youth which he later described as his most rewarding work. He told the story of an apartment house where many of the youth lived that was surrounded by parking lots filled with abandoned vehicles and debris. He called the public works department and told them that Lady Bird Johnson was visiting that weekend and the lot was immediately cleared and cleaned. Of course, Lady Bird had no such visit planned. Bruce felt this act was in keeping with her beautification project in the city. He became a pioneer historic preservationist and was a member of the group “Don’t Tear It Down” when numerous buildings were being demolished, and the first saved, ironically, was the Old Post Office. He was a central figure in the revitalization of Staunton, Virginia. After 30 years of living in Washington, D.C., he and his wife discovered a house in Lynchburg that captured their imagination and they moved here in 1993 with their son, Trevor. At that time, downtown was blighted, there was not a single ATM machine because it was considered a “high crime” area. Bruce had the vision of restaurants, antique shops, and lofts and along with his partner, Norris, restored lofts and restaurants downtown and built the Hilton Garden Inn. He served on the board of the Academy of Music when its restoration was considered a fool’s errand. He cried when he attended the Academy’s opening this past year. Bruce was a foodie before the term was coined. He could recall past dinners in vivid detail. A favorite was scallops en roe eaten on a veranda on the Iles des Saintes off the coast of Guadaloupe. Before he died, he was researching acquisition of roe so that he could experience them again. Days before he died, he researched the recipe for the Made Rite Hamburger which he enjoyed as a youth. His wife deeply regrets that she did not make this for him but she is gratified that she took him to Slugger’s for an ice cream Sunday. Bruce was affectionately known by his family as “Daddy Dessert.” Bruce had a keen intelligence and wit, he loved books and research, archaeology, architecture, art, politics, music and travel. He was a consummate mixologist. Just days ago, he ordered Xoriguer Mahon Gin and Gentenaar Gin while planning a trip to England. He was a Swedenborgian and a member of the Unitarian Church in Lynchburg. He was a long-standing member of the “13 Club” and the Dante Alighieri Society. He said that when all was said and done, he felt his greatest accomplishment was his children: Martin, Alicia, and Trevor. He had read over a hundred books on the subject of the near-death experience and looked forward to all that he had come to believe that heaven offered. Even so, he wanted to remain in this life where he created a piece of heaven that he was loathe to leave. Oh, my darling, enjoy that Made Rite burger. A memorial service will be held 1:00 p.m. Thursday, July 27, 2019 at First Unitarian Church, 818 Court Street, Lynchburg. In lieu of flowers please consider the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Bedford, 540-586-7360.