Russell “Russ” Kent Johnson, the son of Veron and Bernice (Reincke) Johnson, was born Jan. 2, 1951, in Waterloo. He passed away at the age of 69 years of cancer on an early Friday morning, Aug. 28, at his home in Jefferson with his wife De at his bedside.
Russ grew up on a farm near Parkersburg and started country school. He helped with the chores on the farm and then walked a quarter of a mile to school. His family moved to Greene, Iowa, when he was in grade school and he graduated from Greene High School in 1968. He then attended Kirkwood College and earned an associate’s degree in engineering.
Russ was married to Myrna Landers and they had two sons, Martin and Phillip. Russ worked for United Hydraulics in Hampton, and Russ and his family lived in Allison. Russ and Myrna were later divorced.
In 1982, Russ was married to De Jensen and they made their home in Hampton. De brought three daughters to the family: Tammie, Dawn and Julie.
In 1987, the family moved to Pocahontas, and in 2001, Russ and De moved to their present home in Jefferson. Russ worked for Electrolux in Jefferson and Webster City. For a short time, Russ and De lived in Boone and then returned to Jefferson in 2006. When Electrolux opened a factory in Mexico, Russ spent several months each year going back and forth to Mexico. Russ worked for manufacturing companies most of his life and loved it. He retired in 2013.
During his life, Russ had many hobbies. He loved playing golf with his friends, his sons and De. He loved to cook, grill and bake. He smoked all types of meats, baked sourdough bread and made many, many pounds of jerky. He loved his grandkids, NASCAR, woodworking and his second love, his Mustang, and not to forget the “Iowa Hawkeyes.”
Russ was a car buff from an early age. He and De attended many car shows, car auctions and went on car road trips throughout the country, in addition to going on cruises and vacations. Russ had a great interest in history, especially history concerning battles during the Revolutionary and Civil wars.
In 2010, Russ joined Jefferson Elks Lodge 2306 and became a very active member. He served as an officer of the lodge in addition to serving as lodge treasurer for two years. He took a special interest in youth projects such as the lodge’s program of donating dictionaries to area grade schools and the Jefferson Schools’ program Ram Readers, which provided books to each student. He also shared his love of cooking and cooked for many lodge functions and events.
Russ is survived by his wife, De; two sons: Martin (Kim) Johnson, of Wisconsin, and their children Shane and Noah; and Phillip (Jama) Johnson, of Grundy Center, and their children Adonn and Ellyonna; three step-daughters: Tammy (Doug) Casey, of Hampton, and their children Nicole, Jenna, Jordan, Emily and Chase; Dawn (Chad) DeVries, of Waukee, and their sons Tate and Sam; and Julie Gunderson and her children Natalie, Anna and Keaton; five great-grandchildren: Cooper, Kinnick, Addison, Canton and Ava; and brothers Steven Johnson, of Clear Lake, and Gregory (Aldenora) Johnson, of Greenwood, Mo.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A public visitation with his family will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson and will be followed by an Elks Memorial Service conducted by the officers of Jefferson Elks Lodge 2306. Past Exalted Ruler Jack Hunter will give remarks as a special remembrance of Russ’ life.
Burial was made in the Jefferson Cemetery.