Music 32

George Johnson

March 30, 1947 ~ December 23, 2021 (age 74)


George Johnson returned to the universe on Thursday December 23rd, 2021, in Muncie, Indiana.

George was born in Kansas City, MO on March 30th, 1947 and grew up in the Kansas City area. In high school, he was a proud member of the drum corps and played drums in a rock band. He received his bachelor’s degree from MU in biology and pursued a master’s degree in music composition before spending a year teaching middle school science in Kansas City.  

George spent a few years living off the land in the Missouri Ozarks with his wife, Paula McFarling, and their three young children. George also lived in Columbia, greater Kansas City, and at Oakwood Farm in Muncie, Indiana, active in the spiritual practices of the Emissaries of the Divine Light who maintained the community. When Oakwood transitioned to being a retreat center in the 1990’s, George stayed connected to the people and place through friendship and spiritual bonds. 

George’s first love was always the piano. Trained as a classical pianist but able to play many styles, he performed in restaurants, churches, and homes. He was known for his meditative playing style that often involved improvising around old folk tunes. He accompanied services at the Unity Church of Columbia and would perform live solstice broadcasts on KOPN radio. He trained to be a piano tuner and technician and maintained a private practice as a piano tuner in Missouri and Indiana for over 20 years until a stroke limited his hearing and manual dexterity in 1996.

George was also an avid gardener, fitting lush gardens into any space he was allowed, whether it was the expansive, open space of Oakwood Farm or a corner of grass next to his apartment. George had a goofy sense of humor and an abundance of charm and warmth that attracted many people to his company, musical performance, and spiritual guidance. 

He is preceded in passing by his parents, Clifton Edward Johnson and Martha Lea Scott Johnson, and his brother, Howard Johnson. George is survived by his children, Aaron Johnson (Nazak), Emily McFarling (Tommy), and Molly Johnson (Ben), his grandchildren, Daniel Johnson, Edwin Johnson, Alex Benson, Lucas Benson, and Ethan Hayes, and his close friend Janet Burkhart. 

Family and friends are invited to gather at Oakwood Farm and virtually for a memorial and to spread his ashes on Sunday March 27th at 3pm EST. Copy and past link address to access the Zoom meeting for the virtual memorial. Please email for further information about the in-person gathering or challenges joining virtually. 


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