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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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March 30, 2023

12/30/2022 5:29:00 AM
Donald A. Johnson

Donald A. Johnson, 78, of McNaughton, passed away on Dec. 24, 2022, at Friendly Village in Rhinelander. He was born on July 15, 1944, in Milwaukee, to Russell and Alice (Van Wagner) Johnson. Don had a twin sister, Catherine, and he always said he was a gentleman and let her be born first. After graduating from West Allis Central High School, he attended UW-Whitewater. It was there that he met his roommate's sister, Jeannie. They renewed their acquaintance a few years later when his roommate got married. Don and Jeannie (Coburn) were married on April 17, 1969.

Don worked a number of jobs over the years ranging from salesman to handyman to bus driver. He particularly enjoyed his time working at Fort Wilderness. It was his commitment to the Lord and to the camping ministry that eventually caused him to move his family from Wauwatosa to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. While Jeannie was the camp cook, Don worked on building projects around Fort and was instrumental in setting up the first Teepee Village for school-age children, now known as Adventure Outpost. Don was active in the Town of Newbold as town supervisor and then town chairman. He was also a member of Newbold Volunteer Fire Department, serving as chaplain for the department and as a first responder. Don ended his working career as a disaster relief worker for FEMA. Among his several deployments he spent six months in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and came home with recipes for gumbo and creole seasoning.

Don is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jeannie, and children Bradley (Kelly), Andrew (Rebekah), and Cortney (Chad) Andersen; grandchildren: Ryley, Truman, Emelia, Lauren, Ramsey, Landon, Nolan, Natalie, Aiden, Lyndon, Laurel, Logan, Owen and Leah.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Fort Wilderness Ministries, McNaughton, Wisconsin.

Don's family would like to thank Compassus Hospice and the staff of Friendly Village for their compassionate care and kindness.

A memorial service will be held April 15, 2023 at Fort Wilderness, McNaughton. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. and the service will be at noon.

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