TRAVERSE CITY — Robert John “Bob” Johnson set sail on his final journey on a beautiful, sunny winter day, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, from Munson Medical Center. He was and is surrounded by the love of his family.
Bob was born in Muskegon on April 1, 1925, the youngest of six children born to Swedish immigrants Emma Swanson and Isadore Johnson. Although his humility would never allow him to admit it, Bob was the valedictorian of his high school graduating class, beating out his twin brother, Roy. Bob served his nation in the Naval Air Corp during World War II and then graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in engineering. He was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. Bob worked for 37 years at Consumers Energy Company in Jackson, Mich. It was in Jackson on a blind date that Bob met the love of his life, Toni Holmes. They were married on March 22, 1952.
Together Bob and Toni built their own home board by board. It was a darling, cozy home in which to raise their daughter, Amy. Bob and Toni also built their little A Frame on Lake Michigan, north of Montague, where the family spent years walking the beach, swimming, holding evening beach fires, and sailing. Upon retirement Bob and Toni moved to Elk Rapids to be closer to northern Michigan’s fine skiing and more importantly, their family. Recently Bob and Toni moved into Cedar Creek Senior Apartments where they met new friends to join their loving group of “old” friends.
Bob Johnson is survived by his wife of almost 63 years, Toni; his daughter, Amy Johnson-Velis and her husband, John Velis; and Bob’s beloved grandchildren, Emma and Charlie Velis, whom he could not have loved more. Bob is also survived by his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Dorothy and Floyd Thomure of St. Louis, Mo. He has many nieces and nephews, and was the last of his siblings. His family pictures him now joining those siblings on his sister’s old E Scow sailing in Muskegon Lake. His big heart, gentle nature, and love for being on the water and snow will live on forever through Emma and Charlie.
Bob’s family could not be more grateful to the staff of Munson Medical Center, especially the support of those on B Four, Dr. Brown, and Munson’s chaplains, who kept him in comfort and dignity until the end of his life. Thank you.
Bob’s family will hold a memorial service for him on the shore of Lake Michigan when the weather warms.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Salvation Army of Traverse City.
Arrangements for the family have been entrusted to Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Service.