Thomas B. Johnson was born in 1890 in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska. He received his schooling in Omaha, and then in Harvard, Clay County, Nebraska, and Stanton, Iowa. Johnson studied at the Department of Fine Arts at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, from 1921-1923, under Dr. Birger Sandzen. From 1923-1924 he was at Broadmoor Art Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and during 1926-1927, he studied at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. After a special course in welding in the early 1930s, he became associated with the Laboratory Division of the College of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Nebraska. Johnson continued his art work during his tenure with the University, as well as during his retirement, which began in 1955. At this time, he and his wife, Fay, moved to Seward, Nebraska. He died there in 1968.