Obituary in Boston Globe, Apr 15 2020


JOHNSEN, Roger Clark Scientist, Audiophile, Writer Roger Clark Johnsen, beloved son of Arthur M. and Wilda G. Johnsen (both now deceased) and cherished by his many friends, died peacefully on April 8 while in Hospice care in Cambridge, Massachusetts after a series of skirmishes with cancer. Coming to Harvard College from Sioux City, Iowa, he became a lifelong Boston resident. Clark never married and ruefully referred to himself as an "unconfirmed bachelor."

At Harvard College he studied science, did some acting, and joined the college radio station WHRB, a commercial FM radio station serving the Greater Boston area. Clark was a classical music announcer for the station and an on-air presence and trainer of other announcers through the early 1960s. After graduation he was employed at Itek Corporation in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he researched holography in its early years, then worked on projects such as the Apollo Moon Mapper, the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory, the super-secret Corona Project, and the Viking Mars Lander Camera as systems engineer. One of the highlights of his life was the time he gave a presentation to the major Lander contractors to NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and found himself invited to stay afterwards for dinner to discuss details with the lead scientists.

He established and for twenty years operated The Listening Studio in Boston, dedicated to researching sound reproduction in the systematic mode of a NASA project. He was awarded complimentary Life Membership in the Audio Engineering Society. His other interests included music, both classical and traditional; audio technology and record collecting; literature, both fiction and non-fiction; finish carpentry; and writing – short stories and poems (all left unpublished). He authored twenty years of occasional magazine columns on audio and musical topics, and one published book, The Wood Effect: Unaccounted Contributor to Error and Confusion in Acoustics and Audio.

He enjoyed travel, getting to Europe twice in his first thirty years, afterwards mostly to Florida and California, where he visited many friends and enjoyed the outdoors, as well as visits with friends and family in Nebraska. Good food, beer, and fine wine were always on the menu wherever he lived or went. His analytical intelligence and (hard-won) outgoingness will be missed by his friends, associates, and family.

A private service and interment will take place at a later date at his family's burial plot in Laurel, Nebraska.