Service to be held for harbor pilot, volunteer firefighterBy KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent
December 15. 2017 12:11AM
PORTSMOUTH — Memorial services for a beloved harbor pilot and volunteer firefighter will be held at the New Hampshire State Port Authority Pier Saturday.
Peter “PJ” Johnson, 50, of Portsmouth, died during a single-car crash on Route 101 in Epping last weekend. Johnson was driving his 2015 Audi Q5 east when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into Martin Road overpass, according to state police.
On Thursday, Director of Ports and Harbors Geno Marconi said Johnson knew a lot of people in the area and expects a good turnout for the services.
“He touched a lot of people around here in his work as a pilot and the things he did with the community,” Marconi said. “I had a professional relationship with him that turned into a friendship. I had a lot of respect for him. He will certainly be missed.”
Marconi said they are holding the memorial service at the Port Authority at the request of his family. Fire trucks from Kittery, Maine, where he was a firefighter, will be on site, as well as local tugboats.
According to his obituary, Johnson was raised in Tenafly, N.J. He graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 1994 and travelled the world during his career.
In 2012, Johnson became a federal harbor pilot, his obituary says.
Johnson was an advocate for the rebuilding of the Memorial Bridge and the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, two of the three Portsmouth bridges that connect New Hampshire and Maine.
Marconi said Johnson created a PowerPoint presentation about the future of the shipping industry which explained why the Sarah Long Bridge needed replacement.
Marconi said he also expects members of the Cannon Mountain Ski Patrol at Johnson’s services. Johnson was recognized for his efforts during a rescue operation in 2016 when he was the incident commander for a successful tram evacuation, according to his obituary.
Saturday’s memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. The Port Authority Pier is located at 555 Market St. in Portsmouth.
A party in Johnson’s honor will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Foster’s Clambake and Catering, located at 5 Axholme Road in York, Maine, according to his obituary.