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Memorial Service Planned for WSU Student

PULLMAN, Wash. — A memorial service for Brit Johnson, biological systems engineering graduate student who drowned Tuesday, March 23, while serving an internship in Israel, will be held here at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Brit Johnson
Brit Johnson

For location and other information, contact John Anderson, BSE administrative manager, 335-6642 or email,

According to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, Johnson, 26, was snorkeling in the Red Sea after work when he became entangled with a rock. He was an avid participant in outdoor activities. He rode his bicycle to work, often stopping to swim in the sea.

Johnson’s research interest was raising fish in aquaculture systems that purify and recirculate water. With the scarcity of water in Israel, such systems are common there. He was working at the National Center for Mariculture in Eilat, Israel.

At WSU, Johnson earned a master’s degree in December 2003 and proceeded into a doctoral program. He earned his undergraduate degree at Georgia Tech.

Johnson’s advisor was Shulin Chen, a Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. Chen said, “His death is a tremendous loss to all of us who knew him. We will really miss him.”

David Yonge, a professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering who supervised the National Science Foundation program that supported Johnson, said, “You could not hope to meet a more caring, creative and warm individual.”

Pat Huggins, the department’s administrative assistant, remembered Johnson as “kind and caring,” in spite of enduring the stresses of being a graduate student. “He brought us all flowers his last week to say thank you,” she recalled. “He will be remembered and missed.”

Johnson is survived by his parents, the Robert Johnsons, Lilburn, Ga.

The family is planning a memorial service on April 7 in Georgia.

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