Donald A. Johnson

Donald Aaron Johnson died peacefully on May 28, 2012, after battling Alzheimer’s.

He was born September 25, 1931, in Grand Haven to Matilda Nelson and Paul Aaron Johnson. He attended Grand Haven High School and was a graduate of the University of Michigan. He was a member of the Sigma Phi fraternity. A sports fanatic in his early years, playing basketball and football, he held U-M season football tickets and attended games into his early 70s.

Don served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, attending radio and teletype repair school at Camp Gordon, Georgia; and duty in the radio corps at the White House in Washington, D.C.

He returned to Grand Haven to work for his father and Al Jacobson Sr. at the Grand Haven Brass Foundry. Don married Sarah Jo Brown of Grand Rapids on August 11, 1956. They settled in Spring Lake and raised three children. Don worked in various capacities at the foundry and was later named president of the Carlon Meter Co. He became a corporate officer at the family’s JSJ Corp. and was chairman of the JSJ Foundation. He served his community as a founding member of the Spring Lake Rotary Club and as president in 1964. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Grand Haven and sang with the choir there for over 50 years. He was a member of the Spring Lake Yacht Club, the Mackinac Island Yacht Club and the Spring Lake Country Club.

He enjoyed reading novels, snow skiing “up north,” planning vacations, and cruising with Sarah in northern Michigan and the North Channel in Ontario, Canada, on their boat, “Gale.” Don was a superb navigator and helmsman.

Don will be remembered by his good friends and family as a man who cared for his wife, Sarah, as she struggled with health issues for 20 years. He held strong opinions on his favorite topics: politics and football.

He is survived by his children: Gale (David) Munson of Lake Bluff, Ill., Bruce (Sandy) Johnson of Norton Shores and Erick (Holly) Johnson of Spring Lake; grandchildren: Lindsay and Christopher Munson, and Chantal, Klare, Maxwell, Madelynn and Ian Johnson; his brother, F. Martin (Dorothy) Johnson; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah; his parents, Paul and Matilda Johnson; brother, Paul Johnson; and sisters: Margaret Baribeau, Doris Johnson and Esther Frandsen.

A memorial service for Don will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Grand Haven on June 5 at 4 p.m. Friends can meet the family beginning one hour prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials should be sent to the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Spring Lake Rotary Fund, 1 S. Harbor Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417. Please sign the family’s online guestbook at www.vbkfuneralhome.com.

The family is being served by the VanZantwick Bartels Kammeraad Funeral Home of Grand Haven.

 

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