The Fairfield arts community is mourning the loss of one of its key players.
Eric Johnson, who appeared in several shows for the Fairfield Footlighters, Fairfield Summer Theatre and other companies, died on July 26 after a long battle with cancer. His funeral service was held Monday at the Avance Funeral Home.
According to Jim Davis, who worked with Johnson extensively in theater productions, “He was in more of our shows than any other performers had been, usually in small parts. He was a good guy, and his family are very special people. He was always there when you needed him.”
Heidi Schiller, the arts and programs manager for the Fairfield Community Arts Center, also knew Johnson, appearing with him in a summer theater production of “Oliver!” He played Mr. Bumble, she played Widow Corney.
“Eric was a lovely person. He was extremely knowledgeable and very giving and excited about doing theatre,” she said.
He was also quite an actor too, judging by his performance in “Oliver!,” Schiller recalled.
“It was funny that he was cast in that role because his demeanor was the opposite of that character. He really had to act to be mean to those kids,” she said.
He is survived by his wife, Deborah, and his children Christi Johnson of Minneapolis, Minn., Michael Johnson of Chicago, Ill., and Mark Johnson of London, England. He is also survived by his brothers; Charles Johnson of Norfolk, Va. and Thomas Johnson of Kona, Hawaii; father and mother-in-law, Joseph and Mary Schruefer of Forest Hill, Md.; and brother-in- law, Michael Schruefer of Forest Hill, Md . Burial will be at a later date at the Bosley United Methodist Cemetery in Maryland.
Memorial contributions in Johnson’s name may be given to Fairfield Summer Theater, 8800 Holden Blvd., Fairfield, OH 45014