Donald E. Johns

09/23/1925 - 08/09/2018

Obituary for Donald E. Johns

Donald E. Johns Sr., 92, Perry, Iowa

Donald Eugene Johns Sr. passed away August 9, 2018 in Omaha, NE from complications of Lewy Body Dementia at the age of 92.

Donald was born in Perry, IA on September 23, 1925 to Albert William Johns and Grace Pauline (Wilcox) Johns. He spent his childhood in Perry, joining the Navy Air Force prior to his high school graduation at age 17. While home on leave, he reconnected with his childhood sweetheart, Joanne Marie Ellett, and on October 26, 1946, they were married. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in June 1947.

Donald had a strong work ethic which he started developing early in life. Following the stock market crash, he sold eggs door to door with his father and older sister, Doris. This developed in to a regular egg route which Donald ran before and after school. Soon the family had their own business: The Iowa Hatchery/Johns Produce, located in Perry.

Following the birth of their daughter Dawne in September 1949, the family moved to Ames where Donald attended Iowa State University, graduating with a degree in Poultry Husbandry in June 1952.

Through the years, Donald worked for several feed companies as an over-the-road salesman which allowed him to take his family along. Those were happy days for him, as Family and the Open Road were his two biggest passions.

Afflicted with incurable wanderlust, he moved the family to Sioux City, Wood Lake, NE, Eagle Grove; and in 1956 to Clarion, where Donald II was born in December 1958. In 1960, the family moved back to Perry.

Donald wore many hats over the years, but when Oscar Mayer came to Perry, he put on a hard hat and became a USDA meat inspector, taking a transfer to Schuyler, NE in 1974. In 1991, Donald and Joanne moved to Waterloo where he officially retired from the Federal Government on April 1, 1993.

Footloose and fancy free, he and Joanne were finally able to buy their dream home: a travel trailer! For several summers, they parked it at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where they lived and worked. Ever the Adventurer, Donald and his Sidekick spent their free time exploring the natural wonders of the Southwest

Due to Joanne’s health, they returned to the Midwest, living again in Schuyler, and finally returning to Perry in the Fall of 2012.

Donald was a kind and patient man, and a great listener. Besides traveling, his hobbies were hunting, fishing, gardening, and family! He was always meticulous about his appearance; did his laundry every Monday; and ate fresh vegetables before it was the cool thing to do. He was proud of the fact he never took a prescription drug until he turned ninety, and that was under protest! Up until March of this year, he faithfully joined his Masonic brothers for morning coffee. Afterwards, he was off to the McCreary Center to solve the World’s problems with the Table of Eight and to ride the stationary bike for an hour.

Donald is survived by daughter, Dawne Bosier (husband Jim and daughters, Barbara and Julie) of Cedar Falls IA and son, Donald Johns II
(wife, Renee and son Phillip (fiancée, Kelsey Heffner)) of Omaha NE. Sisters, Doris Pantier, Pat Meier and Norma Herridge, all of Perry; Verna Martin of Norwalk IA; Sandy (Larry) Botts of Macomb IL; and Linda (Bob) Olson of Alexandria MN. Also surviving are sisters-in-law, Harriett Burrell of Estes Park CO and RaNae Ellett of Ankeny IA. Donald is survived by many nieces and nephews, as well as numerous wonderful friends he made throughout the years.

He was preceded in death by his soulmate of 66 years, Joanne, on May 9, 2013; his parents; grandparents; sister, Vernas Shipley; brother, George; sister-in-law, Beverly Lidman McMickle; brothers-in-law, Jack Lientz, Virgil Pantier, Jack Meier, Bill Martin, Dale Shipley, Richard Herridge, Robert Burrell and Harry Ellett Jr; nieces, Nancy Burrell Kemp and Debbie Gelbowitz; and nephews, Kevin and Kelley Herridge.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 2:00 pm Friday, August 17, 2018 at Murdock Funeral Home, Perry, IA. Burial will be in Violet Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5:00 – 7:00 pm on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at Murdock Funeral Home.
Memorials in Donald’s name will be donated to Lewy Body Research at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

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We would like to express our deepest sympathy. May those precious memories be foremost in your hearts and minds during this difficult time. Isaiah 25:8
- Jackson Famiky

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