Plastic bag industry leader Lawrence G. Johnson, 67, died Nov. 13 at his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. He had contended with the effects of pancreatic cancer for a year.
Larry Johnson experienced success in his many endeavors - with the U.S. Army, Mobil Chemical Co., Ivex Corp. and Vanguard Plastics Inc., and in industry initiatives such as the Progressive Bag Alliance.
Johnson believed that the entire packaging industry needs to be involved in dealing with bag bans, litter, recycling, pellet containment and other contentious issues, and he led the way with the PBA and related efforts.
Johnson retired early this year as PBA chairman.
Johnson was born in Oak Park, Ill., raised in Glen Ellyn and graduated from Quincy College with a degree in business administration. In the Army, he saw major combat action in Vietnam, performed as a general's aid in South Korea and, after nine years, was discharged as a captain.
He joined Mobil's plastics division as a packaging department sales representative in northern California in 1971 and, from 1978-83, led Mobil's entry into the biaxially oriented polypropylene films business in Europe.
He was based in Arlon, Belgium, and held senior sales, marketing and general management positions, establishing an operation that is now one of Western Europe's largest PP manufacturers.
Johnson left Mobil in 1985 and held other positions, including Ivex senior vice president of sales and marketing.
In 1989, he joined Vanguard as a managing partner and was assigned to take charge of a new Jacksonville, Fla., plant extruding high density polyethylene and making and printing grocery sacks. Hilex Poly Co. LLC acquired Vanguard in 2005, and Johnson continued as a consultant.
The California Film Extruders and Converters Association recognized Johnson with its Leo Shluker Award in January.
The Film and Bag Federation of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., based in Washington, honored Johnson with a special commendation in April 2006.
Johnson was a longtime director of the association.
Survivors include his wife of 44 years, Charlene Sepka Johnson, three daughters and 10 grandchildren.