SOUTHPORT – Like a lot of World War II veterans, Lewis Johnson didn’t talk to his children much about the war.

He would retell the same light-hearted nuggets. His commanding officer in the Army Air Corps was movie star and Capt. Jimmy Stewart, who would croon “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” while Mr. Johnson strummed the guitar. His crew called him Junior, because he was the youngest

“He read a book about what happened in the Air Force about 10 years ago and he said ‘My god, I didn’t know it was that bad,’” said his daughter, Linda Brewer of Southport.

It wasn’t until Mr. Johnson, who died Friday at 87, was interviewed in the mid-1990s by local author Sarah Sherman McGrail for her book, “Southport — The War Years. An Island Remembers,” that they learned there was more to his war.

It was then, his daughter said, that she realized what it was like for her father, who flew more than 30 combat missions over Germany strapped into the ball turret in a fetal position on a B-24 Liberator, firing machine guns at the enemy.

“He was a tough guy, ” said his son, Larry Johnson of Barter’s Island.

Mr. Johnson served with the 445th Bombardment Group in Norfolk, England, flying daylight missions over Berlin.

His plane was one of only two out of 40 planes to return from one mission. His plane crashed into the North Sea on another. His crew had to abort another after shrapnel took out one of the engines and as they came in to the first airfield they could find, the engine blew up 200 feet above the runway.

“The whole thing caught fire and both engines went out. But they landed and they all ran like heck to put it out,” his daughter said.

Mr. Johnson came back with a fistful of medals, including the Flying Cross, five Air Medals with Oak Leaf Clusters and others.

His wife, Franny Johnson, said he also came back with “nerves” and spent some time in the hospital because he couldn’t keep down any food. She didn’t meet him until several years later.

“He didn’t say too much but he used to have nightmares,” she said.

The two met at the Grange after Mr. Johnson moved from Portland to Southport, where his parents had relocated.

Franny Johnson said she liked his guitar playing. “He liked my chocolate cake,” she said.

Aside from his guitar and his family, Mr. Johnson loved lobster fishing. He was fishing up until two years ago when four major heart surgeries finally caught up with him, his family said. “He even bought his license this year,” his daughter said.

She said her father loved to be outdoors, working for himself and pulling up traps.

“It was almost like gambling, hauling that trap up to see if there was anything in it,” she said.

His son and grandson followed him into the business.

His fellow fishermen have planned a boat parade in Mr. Johnson’s honor at 4 p.m. Tuesday, when a procession of boats will leave Cozy Harbor and travel up and around the island and under the Route 27 Bridge.