Nature 28

Ken & Marilynn Johnson

Ken & Marilynn Johnson Obituary

Ken and Marilynn met on a blind date in 1955 and it was love at first sight. They had 5 children and were married for 65 years. Marilynn unexpectedly went to heaven in November 2021 where she’d been waiting for her husband Kenneth until this fall. We miss them both. 

Kenneth James Johnson, 89, went to the great railroad in the sky to finally rejoin his belated wife, on October 23, 2023. Ken was born on July 26, 1934 on the west side of Green Bay to parents Carl Johnson and Collette Roselia Savoy. He graduated from West High School and while in school helped his mom and dad by working after school at the corner gas station as well as taking care of the family farm, 20 acres which is about ½ of what is now Colburn Park. Ken married the love of his life, Marilynn in 1956.  He served in the U.S. Naval Air as Chief Petty Officer.  Ken spent 41 years proudly working as a locomotive engineer. He was the engineer on the last trip of the Green Bay & Western Railroad in 1993 and went on with the Fox Valley Western and the Wisconsin Central. During those years he served as the Chairman of the Wisconsin Legislative board for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. He received his Associated Degree in Supervisory Management with Highest Honors from NWTC and earned his U.S. Coast Guard Captains License.  After retiring from the railroad, Ken - being the busy body that he was - started working again as a security officer for Peischek Security, and he kept right on working till he was over 85 years old.  Ken enjoyed “shooting the breeze” with strangers and possessed the ability to make anyone his friend. Ken and his daughter Becky spent many hours talking about life and the future.  He enjoyed his fishing trips to Canada with his son Tim and nephews Parrish, Travis, Nathan & Steve, as well as the last fishing trips with his son Todd, but one of his favorite pastimes in his later years was simply walking in Colburn Park reminiscing about the old days spent farming and teaching his grandkids how to identify all the different kinds of flowers and plants spread across the woods, starting with the first bloodroots of spring. 

Ken’s “Little Bride”, Marilynn Ann Johnson (Heraly), 84, went home to the Lord, and her card club, on November 20, 2021. Marilynn was born on September 25, 1937 on the East Side of Green Bay as the oldest child of parents Charles Heraly and Arlene Peper. She graduated from East High School 1956.  A lifelong Packers fan she enjoyed the games she attended with son Tim and daughter Lori. Although she denied being an artist, she was definitely a creative person at the very least. In the ‘70s-‘80s she spent hundreds of hours creating June Zimonick ornaments with her mom & sister, including one they sold to the legendary Bob Hope. In the ‘90s she spent even more time making and selling crafts at craft shows all over the Midwest with her eldest daughter, Wendy. In the early 2000s she continued her creative streak spending hours crafting unique greeting cards with her little sister, Nancy. She was also a former employee of the N.E.W. Zoo, which was possibly one of her grandkids favorite facts about her. Marilynn was fond of traveling with her granddaughter Anastasia to her musical performances around the country, helping her do her hair and packing snack bags for the road. But in her later years, her favorite activity was watching tv with her husband in the den, with her grandkids dog - a 2lb red teacup poodle appropriately named Joy - curled up on her lap. 

Marilynn and Ken are survived by; their son, Tim (Paula) Johnson and their three daughters, Wendy (Randy) Johnson, Rebecca Delsman, fiance Shane Wheelock, and Lori (Jonathan) Long; their grandchildren Keith Johnson, Anastasia Lee Johnson, Tatiana Marie Johnson, Randel David Johnson, Nicholas Jefferson Johnson, and little 6 year old Jaxson Thomas (who they helped raise since his arrival into their lives), Sara Stegemen, Jessica Francois, Kayla Mertens, Haylii Delsman, and Winter Delsman; along with many great grandchildren, and even a couple great great grandchildren.  Marilynn is also survived by her little brother David Heraly and Ken is survived by his younger sisters Carol Geiger and Kristin Stull. 

They are preceded in death by their eldest son, Todd Johnson; Marilynn’s younger sister Nancy (Heraly) Daanen; Ken’s siblings Carl, Steve, and Lois; and their nephew, Kurt Daanen. 

We’d like to thank those who helped to keep Ken in his home in his final years for as long as was allowed to be possible, as was his lifelong wish. They include his daughter Wendy and her family who served as his caregivers over the past three years of his life, Tatiana who acted as his personal butler for two years straight, Randel Jr. and Nicholas who helped Ken when muscle was needed – they never could beat him in arm wrestling, Anastasia who made the inpatient rehab days bearable from jumping from the closet in a tutu to visiting in her goofy pajamas and whose relationship with her grandfather can be best described as unique, his nieces Kim (Daanen) Loose and Kathy Sue who were always a phone call away to help their uncle whenever necessary, and as of fall 2023 the addition of Unity Hospice (A special Thank You to Caiden). 

We miss you both, Ken and Marilynn, but we’re relieved you’re reunited at last. Love, us. 

Visitation will be held on Friday, November 3, 2023 at the Woodlawn Cemetery Chapel, 1542 Webster Ave., Green Bay, from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. A committal service will take place immediately after with full military honors.

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November 3, 2023

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Woodlawn Cemetery Chapel, Green Bay

Committal Service
November 3, 2023

12:30 PM to 7:00 PM
Woodlawn Cemetery Chapel, Green Bay


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