On Wednesday, Jan. 13, the city of Highland completed the installation of its memorial for Dennis Johnson, city founder and first mayor who died at the age of 80 on July 6, 2020.

The memorial includes a monument plaque, an iron bench and a newly planted oak tree, creating a rest stop at the southwest corner of Church Street and Lemon Street, along the Streater Street Trail.

The monument recognizes Johnson’s contributions toward Highland’s campaign for incorporation, his service as the city’s first mayor, his service on the city council and his longtime involvement and volunteerism with the Highland Trails Committee. It also recognizes his being honored as Highland’s 2019 Citizen of the Year.

The monument states:

In memory of

Dennis Leonard Johnson

“Founding Father”

November 5, 1939 – July 6, 2020

A respected and conscientious community leader. He was instrumental in the formation of the city of Highland. He became the first mayor of the city of Highland in 1987 and served many years on the city council. He was an integral part of the Highland Trails Committee. In January 2019, Dennis was honored with the title of Highland’s Citizen of the Year.

In addition to his many civic contributions, Johnson raised oak trees for various conservation programs throughout the region. In honor of his love for trails and trees, one of his oaks was planted at the memorial, behind an iron bench featuring a large oak tree in its design.

The memorial was funded by donations made by Johnson’s family, friends and other residents at the time of his funeral. It was installed by city staff, including Kevin Layne and Brandon Coleman, who completed the project on Jan. 13.

Due to coronavirus prohibitions on public gatherings, the city did not hold a dedication ceremony for the memorial.

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