2014 Deceased Member — Robert Joseph Johansen
In Memory of Robert Joseph Johansen
Robert Joseph Johansen, beloved husband of Mary Johansen, died of complications following a knee replacement operation at his home in Yonkers, New York, on May 1, 2014; the day before his 92nd birthday.
Born in Bronx, New York, to Irving and Margaret Johansen, he was baptized at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. He also became a parishioner of St. Margaret of Cortona Parish. He would later serve as president of the Holy Name Society, an occasional lector, usher and eventually head usher, from 1949 to 2009.
Bob was a proud graduate of St. Simon Stock Parochial School and High School. While attending Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY, he built his own amplifier, enabling him to become the disc jockey at Manhattan College’s weekly tea dances. He later would use that amplifier to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor to the campus community. Bob graduated in 1943 with first honors with a degree in Mathematics from Manhattan College. He was a member of the Epsilon Sigma Pi honor society.
As a part of the class of 1943, Bob was part of a generation of Americans whose graduation was accelerated so the young men could enter World War II. Bob enlisted in the Army Air Force and served throughout the war as a “geodetic computer”, performing mathematical computations for the 7th AAF Geodetic Control Squadron. He was honorably discharged as a corporal on Feb. 13, 1946.
Following the war, Bob began coursework for a master’s in Mathematics and Statistics at Columbia University while beginning to study for the actuarial exams. After passing his exams, he was admitted as a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries on May 10, 1954. He earned his master’s degree from Columbia in 1974. He was also a member of the American Statistical Association, the New York Academy of Sciences, the National Association of Securities Dealers and the International Actuarial Association. For many years, he served on committees of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics. He was also listed in Who’s Who.
Bob joined the actuarial department of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in 1947, became an officer in 1960, and was promoted to vice president in 1970. He headed the underwriting department and during the Vietnam War successfully insured aircraft against war risk when others would not. He retired as vice president and actuary in 1982 to form his own consulting firm, Life Actuarial Services.
In retirement, Bob also continued his work with the Society of Actuaries, serving in many capacities, including Treasurer of the SOA Board of Directors. He also chaired several committees including the Examination Committee, the Committee on Life insurance Research and the Task Force on Mortality Guarantees in Variable Products. Bob founded the SOA’s Living to 100 and Beyond Symposium, which brings together thought leaders from government and industry from around the world to discuss future longevity and the impact of increasing longevity. He also chaired the symposium committee.
Every American who has life insurance is directly affected by Bob’s work on developing the 1980 and 2001 CSO Valuation Mortality Tables, also known as the smoker versus nonsmoker mortality tables, which all U.S. insurers are required to use. He published numerous articles, including one on the impact of genetic testing on insurance underwriting. In 1974, he became a trustee of Dominican College, Blauvelt.
Bob enjoyed golf, baseball, his motor boat and loved his home in Florida. Bob bought a house in Yonkers, New York, in 1956 and a Mercedes Benz in 1961. On December 19, 1962, he met a young woman in Greenwich Village, and announced that night to his parents that he had met the girl he would marry. He married her on June 27, 1964, at St. Ignatius Loyola Church, Manhattan. He is survived by his beloved wife Mary; his children, Mary Carroll, Robert (Karlam) and David (Chrisanne); and his grandchildren, Caitlin, Kelly, Christine, Kevin, William, Caroline and James. The Mercedes still resides in the garage of the same house in Yonkers.
Robert J. Johansen’s Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday, May 7, at St. Margaret of Cortona Church, Bronx. The burial with military honors took place in Yonkers at St. Mary’s Cemetery on Thursday, May 8. In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Beacon, New York, or the Disabled American Veterans.