HAWTHORNE — Rea E. Johnson, whose fight to save his home in the 1950s turned him into an avid City Council gadfly, has died.
Johnson, 78, died Dec. 31 at Robert F. Kennedy Medical Center from respiratory failure after a bout with emphysema. He is survived by a half-brother, Joseph McGuigan of Laguna Niguel.
A 65-year city resident, Johnson attended nearly every City Council and Planning Commission meeting and was often seen perusing city files and copying documents, officials said.
"He was always sincere and congenial," said Mayor Betty Ainsworth. "He never hurt anybody."
He spoke slowly, asking ponderous questions that often irritated council members and residents in the audience, but he was always polite and rarely was cut short, city officials said.