John Seward Johnson I

John Seward Johnson I (July 14, 1895May 23, 1983) was the son of Robert Wood Johnson I, the founder of the company Johnson & Johnson. He was also known as J. Seward Johnson, Sr. and Seward Johnson. He founded the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI).

He was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on July 14, 1895.

With his Bermuda-born wife, Ruth Dill, sister of actress Diana Dill, he had four children. Divorced, he started a relationship with his Polish maid, Barbara Piasecka, whom he married in 1971. He signed his final will on April 14, 1983 and died in Fort Pierce, Florida one month later. In accordance with the terms of the will, Barbara Piasecka Johnson inherited his $402,824,971.59 fortune. His six children from his first two marriages contested the will on the grounds that he was not mentally competent at the time he signed the will. They already were given money in trusts, but the legal battle ended with an out-of-court settlement in whuich the Johnson children received an additional $US 42.5 million each.

An avid art collector, Johnson owned an extensive collection of old-master paintings and drawings.


Children of John Seward Johnson I and Esther Underwood (1906-1999):

  • 1) James Loring Johnson
  • 2) Jennifer Underwood Johnson (Duke)

Children of John Seward Johnson I and Ruth Rapalje Neilson Dill (1903-1987):

On October 30, 1944, J. Seward Johnson created six Trust funds, one for each of his children. Basically the same, each trust was principally funded with 15,000 shares of Johnson & Johnson common stock, the present day market value of which is very substantial.

Seward John's son by his wife Ruth is the sculptor John Seward Johnson II. His daughter, Diana Melville Johnson and her husband Bertram R. Firestone are renowned owner/breeders of Thoroughbred racehorses.

External links


  • New York Times; May 24, 1983; "J. Seward Johnson, a director of Johnson Johnson from 1921 to 1971 and an internationally known yachtsman half a century ago, died yesterday at his home in Fort Pierce, Florida. He was 87 years old and also lived in Princeton, N.J. Mr. Johnson was a son of one ..."
  • New York Times; May 19, 1986; "When the court battle over the $500 million estate of J. Seward Johnson Sr. began almost two months ago, witnesses for his six children testified about incidents in which Mr. Johnson's third wife, Barbara, shouted and cursed at him and at servants at their home in Princeton, N.J. The ..."
  • Margolick, David. Undue Influence: The Epic Battle for the Johnson & Johnson Fortune (1993) William Morrow & Co ISBN-13 978-0688064259
  • June 3, 1986 New York Times article titled Accord Reached on Johnson Will

Search another word or see John_Seward_Johnson_Ion Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature