In Tribute to Robert L. Johnson, O.D., MS, FCOVD

I received my autographed Larry Fitzgerald plaque in the mail on the same day that news came of Dr. Bob Johnson’s passing from his daughter, Dr. Stephanie R. Johnson-Brown.  For those of you not familiar with the connection, let me elaborate.  Larry Fitzgerald is a susperstar wide receiver who plays for the Arizona Cardinals.  He struggled with learning issues as a child and in a widely publicized story in the Wall Street Journal, credited Dr. Stephanie Johnson-Brown and her father Robert in providing him with the visual skills needed to succeed.  It wasn’t serendipity that led Larry to Dr. Bob and Dr. Stephanie – they are, respectively his grandfather and his aunt.  The inscription on the plaque reads:  Optometric Vision Therapy made a big difference in my life and my career. I was fortunate that my vision problems were caught early in life.  Learning-related vision problems can have a serious impact on a child’s education. Don’t wait, take action today!

You can download an order fom to obtain a copy of this plaque, with the proceeds going to help further Dr. Bob Johnson’s legacy through the Plano Vision Development Center.  There is a delightful video that details Dr. Johnson’s experiences in the field of child vision development, and the quandary that his daughter. Stephanie had in deciding to follow in her mother’s path as an educator, or in her father’s footsteps as a developmental vision specialist.

The video is a wonderful tribute to the legacy that Dr. Johnson’s leaves, and the Chicago Tribune carried his obituary in a manner befitting this dignified professional.  Dr. Johnson was the first African-American to become board certified as a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (FCOVD), and became a Fellow Emeritus upon his retirement.  I originally became acquainted with the Johnson family through a New Jersey colleague, Dr Jim Washington, also an FCOVD and NOA legend, who was cut from the same gentlemanly cloth.  Sadly, Dr. Washington passed away this year as well.

Larry’s plaque has already found a prominent place in my office, and each time I pass by it I smile and think of Bob and his legacy that lives on through Stephanie and Plano Vision Development Center.

– Leonard J. Press, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO

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