Jesse D. Johnson, 85, of Tomah passed away Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, with his family by his side at the Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.
He was born May 21, 1934, to Fred and Lula (Doers) Johnson in the town of Adrian. He attended Perry Valley Country School of Sunnydale and later Tomah High School. He left high school prior to graduating to join the Army.
As a proud member of the U.S. Army, Jesse served his country during the Korean War. One of his proudest moments was acquiring his high school diploma in 2003, through a veterans program and in May 2017, traveling to Washington, D.C., on the Freedom Honor Flight with his son, Dave.
On Sept. 28, 1957, Jesse was united in marriage to Marian Pierce at the United Methodist Church in Tomah. They were able to share just shy of 62 years together. In 1962, Jesse and Marian purchased a farm west of Tomah, in the town of Greenfield and in 1973, built the house where they resided until 2006, when they moved to town.
In his younger years, Jesse enjoyed the thrill of racing hobby stock cars at the Tomah Sparta Speedway. As an avid outdoors-man he enjoyed fishing and hunting deer and coon. On June 6, 1956, Jesse went to work at Vanpak and retired from Union Camp, June 6, 1996. After retirement Jesse and Marian enjoyed traveling and took several bus tours.
Jesse was a family man through and through. He found great contentment in having his infant grandchildren and great-grandchildren swaddled in his arms and as they grew, he was their biggest fan in all their endeavors. Jesse enjoyed trading cars and was known as “tradin Jess” by many. He also could be found listening to classic country music and enjoying a cold beer and reserving Sunday’s for polka music.
Serving God and Country, the camraderies Jesse shared with his fellow servicemen, continued through his membership and volunteer work with the DAV, his membership with the Grassman-Sowle-Larsen-Senz American Legion Post #201, a member and post commander with the Curtis-McNutt VFW Post #1382, as well as organizing the funeral military honors and as a member of the United Methodist Church in Tomah.
Even though Jesse was a man of few words, he will forever be remembered for having a huge heart.
He is survived by his wife, Marian of Tomah; his children, Barb Johnson of Tomah, Lori (Mike) Eckelberg of Frederic, Wis., Dwight (Cheryl) Johnson of Tomah, Nancy (Mike) Kelly of Wilton, Julie (Keith) Nelson of Tomah, Angie Johnson (Jay Waltemath) of Tomah and David (Kati) Johnson of Tomah; 18 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren. He is further survived by sisters-in-law, Lois Pierce and Ellen Johnson; a brother-in-law, Dale Pierce; a goddaughter, Phyllis Olsen; countless nieces, nephews, other relatives and many dear friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings and their spouses, Virgil and Agnes Johnson, Ardella Douglas, Kenneth Johnson, Beulah and Larry Basset, Albert and Lois Johnson, Reuben Johnson and Delores and Jim Powell; many other brothers and sisters-in-law.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at First United Methodist Church, 1105 Butts Ave., Tomah. Pastor Krysta Deede will officiate. Burial will be in Oak Grove Cemetery with military honors by Curtis-McNutt VFW Post #1382.
Relatives and friends are invited for a time of visitation from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday at the Sonnenburg Family Funeral Home, 801 E. Monowau St., Tomah and Friday from 10 a.m. until the time of service at the church. Online condolences can be made www.sonnenburgfamilyfh.com.