Marion LaVerne Johnson, “Mr. J.,” son of the late Harold L. and Mary C. (Ming) Johnson, died May 17, 2019, at age 83.
Marion was born on Dec. 30, 1935, in Aurora, and he was confirmed at the Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Mankato. He and his brother grew up in the Miltonvale, Scottsville, Ionia and Lovewell communities, and he graduated from Lovewell High School in 1954.
Marion was a 35-year educator and coach at junior and senior high schools across north-central Kansas, with 20 years in Belleville, where he taught many students the craftsmanship of woodworking. With his students, he stressed attention to detail, and their projects, from grandfather clocks to hope chests to cabinetry, are keepsakes in homes across the region.
He also taught industrial arts and coached sports at Culver, Montrose, Republic, Haddam, Courtland, Osborne and Belleville. One of his memorable coaching accomplishments was his winning streak with the Haddam girls basketball team. His parents and his younger brother, Eugene, taught and coached while farming in western Republic, eastern Jewell and southeastern Cloud counties.
He was teaching at Montrose High School when he met Kathyrn Lynn “Kathy” Konovalsky. They married on July 24, 1960, at Ada Lutheran Church, southeast of Courtland, near Kackley. To this union two sons were born: Bryan and Whitney.
Marion graduated from Fairbury (Neb.) Junior College and McPherson College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in industrial education. He earned a Master’s Degree from Fort Hays State University.
Marion was a member of the Belleville Masonic Lodge No. 129 A.F. & A.M.; the North Central Kansas Shrine Club; the Isis Shrine Temple, of Salina; the Elks Lodge, of Superior, Neb.; and the Order of the Eastern Star. He served as Exalted Ruler of the Belleville Elks for two years, and he was a 50-year member of three clubs: the Masons, the Isis Shrine and the Eastern Star. Marion supported his wife, Kathy, as she served five years in Eastern Star state positions and advanced to the office of Worthy Grand Matron.
His hobbies were working in his woodworking shop, gardening and attending any and all activities of his granddaughters. His tomato garden treated many Belleville residents, including those at Golden Bell Haven senior center.
Marion will be forever remembered by his wife, Kathyrn Johnson, Belleville; sons Bryan Johnson (Roger Aguirre), Ensenada, Mexico, and Whit (Shelley) Johnson of Belleville; granddaughters Kayley Johnson of Minot, North Dakota, and Kendsey Johnson of Belleville; brother Eugene (Joy) Johnson of St. Joseph, Missouri and many other relatives and a host of friends.
O.E.S. services by Ophal Chapter 115 and the Grand Family were held Monday, May 20th at 7:00 p.m., following the family visitation. Marion’s Service of Remembrance was held Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at 11:00 a.m., at the Belleville American Lutheran Church. Masonic service following the service were conducted by Belleville Lodge No. 129 A.F. & A. M. In accordance to the wishes of Mr. J., cremation followed his service. A family inurnment will be in the Belleville City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes memorial contributions in honor of Mr. J. to be made to the Isis Temple Travel Unit or the Belleville American Lutheran Church, and can be sent in care of the funeral home. Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home, Belleville, Kansas is honored to assist Mr. J’s family with these arrangements.