Merl Ervin Johnson, 87, of Gaylord, passed away in his sleep at home on Dec. 29, 2010.
Merl was born Dec. 17, 1923, in Detroit, to William and Freddessa (Northam) Johnson. He married Mary Louise Washburn on Nov. 6, 1948.
Merl is survived by Mary; their three children, Bill, Paul, and Nancy; two grandchildren, Alicia and Lisa; two great-grandchildren, Layne and Elizabeth; three sisters, Jean, June and Donna; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Merl served in the Marines from 1942 to 1947. He was one of the Edson Raiders who participated in the occupation and capture of Guadalcanal in 1942. Wounded in Guam in 1944, he received the award of the Purple Heart Medal. Merl was issued the honorable service lapel button and was recommended for the Good Conduct Medal for honest and faithful service.
Merl was an active member of the First United Methodist Church and served as head usher for many years. He opened a shop in town called Merl’s Collision, where he repaired cars. Many afternoons he would hang a sign on the door, “Gone Fishing,” which he loved to do, or “At the Chatter Box,” where someone could find him having coffee with a group of men. Besides fishing, he enjoyed gardening and building model airplanes; many are hanging in the VFW.
Besides his parents, Merl was preceded in death by his sister, Shirley; brother, Lee; and grandson Cary.
Memorial services for Merl Johnson will be Monday, Jan. 3, 2011, at 11 a.m. from the First United Methodist Church in Gaylord with the Rev. John Naile officiating.
A memorial gathering will take place on Monday at church at 10 a.m.
Contributions in memory of Merl may be made to the First United Methodist Church through the Nelson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.