Ivan Leon Johnson was born October 2, 1931 in Mission, Kansas. Early in his life the family moved several times, which led to Ivan attending many different schools. He attended grade schools: Hickory Grove in Mission, Liberty in Ottawa, Dafer in Tonganoxie then attended Shawnee Mission Rural High; however, graduated from Tonganoxie High School. Ivan attended Kansas City Kansas Community College and always encouraged higher education which resulted in him attending many graduation ceremonies.
Leon met the love of his life, Opal Julia “Judy” Puhr, in 1951 at a Kansas City Blues baseball game. They were married May 15, 1952 in Kansas City, Missouri. The majority of their married life was spent in Merriam, KS where they raised their 5 children. Ivan was drafted into the US Army in 1952 and was promoted to Sgt. before he left in 1954, an accomplishment not many attained in 2 years. He worked as a machinist at various manufacturing facilities and retired in 1992 as a manager at Twin City Tool after 24 years. After retirement, he enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren in and around Kansas City, attending many activities with frequent trips to their cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks. Beyond the summer trips to the Lake, Ivan and Judy enjoyed annual winter trips to South Padre Island with the other “snow birds.”
Ivan was preceded in death by his parents, Ivan and Tillie (Ekholm) Johnson, sister Martha Anne Theno, brother Elliot “Ray” Johnson, and brother-in-law Jim Long. Survivors include his loving wife, Judy, and five children: Gwen (fiancé Ken Throckmorton) Johnson, Deby VanGoethem, John (Shawnna) Johnson, Sandy (Jim) Ehlers, and Chris (Nancie Page) Johnson and close family friend Debby Axe. Siblings: Carol Long and Sharon (Johnny) Hylton. 10 grandchildren: Laura Beth Clark, Kyle (Laura) VanGoethem, Brad VanGoethem, Kara Ehlers, Amanda (Jayson) Bruce, Cole Johnson, Kristin (Michael) Murray, Katie Ehlers, Jared Johnson, and Kurt Ehlers. 11 great-grandchildren: Chelsea and Tyler Clark; Anna, Reed and Claire VanGoethem; Jayson, Brayden, Jayleigh and Colton Bruce; and Ava and Elizabeth Murray. 1 great-great-grandchild: Abel O’Conner, as well as numerous extended family and friends as far away as Sweden including Sven Sundberg. Ivan was loved and respected by many and began his next journey on July 20, 2019, at 87 years of age. Memorial contributions can be made to Overland Park Lutheran church.
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