Brett Johnson: 1960-2009

Longtime NBC 5 reporter died at Fort Worth hospital

By Scott Gordon
|  Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009  |  Updated 10:49 PM CDT
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Brett's Legacy

KXAS

Brett Johnson has been a reporter for NBC 5 since September 1996.

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Brett Johnson 1960-2009

NBC 5 reporter Brett Johnson's television news career has covered all kinds of stories, but true Texas stories were his favorite.
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Brett Johnson, an NBC 5 reporter for 13 years who was known for his folksy style and love of Texas and its music, died Sunday. He was 48.

Brett died at Baylor All Saints Hospital in Fort Worth, where he was admitted Wednesday after complaining of stomach pain. He was diagnosed with pancreatitis, which led to other complications, his family said.

Brett joined NBC 5 in September 1996 after working several years at KDFW-TV Fox 4. He previously worked in Waco, Wichita Falls and Oklahoma City.

He graduated from Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth and Stephen F. Austin University.

He made his home in Fort Worth, the same city where he was born and grew up and seemed to know everyone.

As a reporter, Brett embraced Texas culture. It was no secret he felt more comfortable wearing a cowboy hat than a suit and tie.

Over the years, he covered everything from hurricanes to crime, but he excelled at reporting on feature stories, especially anything related to music. Homegrown Texas artists were his favorites.

He interviewed the biggest names like Willie Nelson and ZZ Top.

One of his favorite stories took him to Luckenbach, the tiny Texas town made famous in the song by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

"Yes, folks, it really does exist," Brett reported.

Brett started playing the guitar as a teenager, and he brought one with him to Luckenbach, which he picked up on camera.

"The great thing about Luckenbach is any old hack with a six-string flat top is welcome to sit in," he said, before playing a song with two locals.


 Some of Brett Johnson's Favorite Reports:


Whatever he was covering, Brett always managed to find the interesting oddities of life in North Texas. Along the way, he introduced us to the quirky characters he met.

Many viewers will remember Brett's live demonstrations on how to deep fry a turkey for Thanksgiving, a segment so popular he did it for eight straight years.

When he wasn't working, Brett lived life to the fullest. He enjoyed fishing Texas lakes and scuba diving off the coast of Mexico. In 2006, he attended the British Open and toured Liverpool, England, the hometown of the Beatles. He was an expert on Beatles trivia.

Just a few weeks ago, he reported on the first day of summer.

"Listen, I was born in this state," Brett said in his folksy voice. "I can break a sweat at the drop of a hat, and I'm predicting a long, hot summer."

Those of us who worked with him will miss Brett's friendship.

Countless viewers he never knew personally will miss him, too, and the stories he told.


Arrangements for Brett Johnson

Visitation:
Tuesday, 6-8 pm
Shannon Rose Hill Funeral Chapel and Cemetery
7301 E. Lancaster Ave.
Fort Worth
 
Funeral Service:
Wednesday, 2 pm
First United Methodist Church
800 W. 5th St.   
Fort Worth
 
Graveside Services Follow Church Service:
Shannon Rose Hill Funeral Chapel and Cemetery
7301 E. Lancaster Ave.
Fort Worth


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