Quintin (QJ) Johnson

Quintin was born at home in Excelsior, Minn., to Maude and Peter Johnson on July 24, 1935, the youngest of five children. After living a remarkable life and having made an indelible mark on science, he left us on June 16, 2019, surrounded by loved ones at his family home in Livermore, Calif.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Joanne, son Kaj (Karen), daughter Maj (Scott), and grandson Bo Cole.

Quintin’s commitment to lifelong learning was a family trait ingrained in him by his parents, both career-educators in their community on Lake Minnetonka.

Quintin attended St. Olaf College, where he studied chemistry, sang in the chorus, ice skated at Winter Carnival, and tutored math. There, he met his wife-to-be.

Upon graduation, QJ was encouraged by his professors to apply to graduate school. Quintin accepted a scholarship from UC Berkeley. He chose Berkeley largely because a professor of crystallography was using computers for research, a rare thing at the time. QJ earned his Ph.D. three years later, and gained several best friends – one he would later call brother-in-law.

After graduation, QJ and Jo purchased a home in Livermore. He and his young family became involved in church and community activities.

Quintin loved the outdoors and looked forward to family trips backpacking, river rafting and camping, and treks to the ocean. Outings to the hills around Livermore included collecting tarantulas or shooting off rockets with friends and their families.

While at the lab, he continued to learn and share his knowledge. With his colleagues he would publish over 100 papers, several patents and earn two R&D 100 awards. Within his field he served at various positions with professional affiliations. While President of the ACA he gave a talk about an idea he called Micro Structures, now commonly called nanostructures.

In early 1980, three crystallographer friends who also believed in the promise of computational efforts, encouraged him to set forth on a path that would eventually lead to his departure from the lab. He retired early after 30 years.

With friends’ support, he started a scientific software company, built on his knowledge and skills. He collected the brightest young minds to help carry those early efforts forward. He enjoyed this new energetic team for the next 30 years. He was usually the first one in to the office in the morning, and always excited over daily developments. Less than a year ago, Quintin officially retired for the second time.

Quintin loved his fellow colleagues and neighbors, friends and family, and especially cherished his grandson Bo. He will be missed by all.

A service will be held at Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Sunday July 14, at 4 p.m., with a reception to follow. Friends and family are welcome to attend and share a story. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a scholarship fund in his name, or a charity of their choice.