“I can summarize his life by saying that he was great in mind, heart and soul, a devoted husband and a wise and affectionate father; also a great benefactor, not only to his church but to our state, and one of our most useful and outstanding citizens, who during his lifetime continuously gave inspiration to all and received love and affection from all with whom he came in contact.”
Roy M. Johnson was born in Wisconsin to a father who was a clergyman of the Seventh Day Adventist Church for over fifty years. He acquired his education in public schools of Ft. Calhoun, Nebraska, and after graduation entered Union College in College Place, Nebraska, where he earned a B. A. in 1899. He learned the printer’s trade at Battlecreek, Michigan, and worked there for a time as a linotype operator. After some time in Beaumont, Texas, he arrived in Ardmore in 1907 and established the Ardmore Statesman, a Republican newspaper, which was a courageous adventure in a strong Democratic field. Perseverance and good nature won the day, and his popularity coupled with ability won for him the election to the Board of County Commissioners. Later, Mr. Johnson was appointed by Gov. Martin Trapp as a member of the first Oklahoma Highway Commission, where he served with distinction. He was largely responsible for the opening of Highway 77 north of Ardmore through the Arbuckle Mountains to Oklahoma City. He edited and published the Statesman until 1915, when the discovery of the Healdton Oil Field marked his entry into the oil business. He became a member of the Healdton Oil Company and ultimately, president of the Healdton Petroleum Company, as well as director of the Wirt-Franklin Petroleum Company. Mr. Johnson was also serving as director of the Oklahoma Memorial Association, the predecessor of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, at the time of his death.
Roy Johnson, together with Edward Galt and some other friends, discovered the Healdton Oil Pool in southern Oklahoma. By this discovery he and thousands of other people were made wealthy.
Johnson came to Ardmore, Oklahoma, in 1918 as a printer and newspaperman.