Thursday, November 16, 2023
1:00 PM EST
Fort Custer National Cemetery
15501 Dickman Rd.
Augusta, MI 49012
Life Story Reception
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
A Charity of Choice
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Life Story / Obituary
As his family and friends can surely attest, John “Jack” Johnson truly understood the secret to a life well lived. He was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times, and he faced challenges head-on with a fierce spirit of determination. Nothing brought Jack greater joy than spending time with his loved ones, even in the simplest of moments. He was a provider for many, and his faith formed the unshakeable foundation of his life. Deeply loved, Jack will be forever missed by those who knew him best.
The 1920s are remembered in American history as a decade of great prosperity and influence. Popularly known as the Roaring 20s, the rapid economic growth and social change drastically shifted the course of the nation as we made drastic leaps in the world of flight, as the radio became part of our homes, and as motion pictures became available in both color and sound. It was also during this time that a young couple in Toledo, Ohio, John and Louise (Reusch) Johnson, eagerly awaited the birth of their second child. On October 19, 1927, they welcomed their son into the world and named him John Lawrence, after his father, though he would be called Jack like many other boys of that time.
Growing up, Jack was a typical young man of his generation in many ways. He was raised in the family home in Toledo alongside his five siblings, Donald, Richard, Particia, Nancy, and Robert. Jack’s father supported the family by working in automotive enterprises while his mother remained close to home to care for her children. Throughout Jack’s childhood, the Johnson family was very involved in the practice of their Catholic faith, and Jack was brought up in the church. At a young age, he discovered a love for building model airplanes. Jack attended local schools, and following his graduation from high school he was drafted to serve in the United States Army. He received a medal upon his discharge in 1946. Jack then went on to join the Ohio National Guard, where he rose through the ranks to become a Master Sergeant, earning a Marksman Award. He also pursued further education at the University of Toledo with his GI Bill, and he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Jack as he met the woman who would soon become the love of his life. Her name was Rita Ketterer, and the two first met at a picnic at Vineyard Lake that was sponsored by the Catholic Youth Organization. While swimming in the lake and jumping off a giant raft, Rita caught Jack’s notice. There was an instant spark between the two of them, and over time their friendship blossomed into something truly special. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Jack and Rita were married at St. Ann’s Church on July 15, 1950. The newlyweds then spent their honeymoon traveling the Pocono Mountains before returning home.
All who knew Jack can surely attest that, of all the things he loved in life, he treasured his family above all else. Over the years he and Rita were overjoyed to welcome their seven children, Nancy, David, Michael, Lisa, Julie, Deborah, and Leslie, into their hearts and home. Jack thrived in his role as a father and dedicated himself to raising his children into kind and hardworking individuals. Later in life, he was thrilled to become a grandfather and even a great-grandfather. Jack always considered himself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Jack was never afraid to work hard when it came to providing for his family. Following in his father’s footsteps, he dove headfirst into the car business. In 1968 Jack moved to Kalamazoo and in 1969, the family followed, where Jack could run a dealership. He managed that Kalamazoo Chrysler dealership until 1979, when he started his own company, Stadium Motors. Jack had a true passion for his work, and he loved talking with people and helping them in every way he could. He worked long hours, but he was always careful to manage his time so that he could be with his family often. Jack continued in the car business until the age of 89 because, to him, it was so much more than work.
Never one to sit still for long, Jack pursued many hobbies to stay busy in his free time. He was a devout Catholic and was devoted to his faith, and he was an active member of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Portage. The Johnson family enjoyed taking a vacation every summer. They traveled all over the country and into Canada, seeing the sights and growing closer as a family. Jack was a member of the Kiwanis Club, as well as the Knights of Columbus. He liked playing golf, deer hunting, and riding snowmobiles and his beloved motorcycle.
When reflecting on the life of John “Jack” Johnson, it is easy to see both his unwavering strength and his unconditional love for his family. He was well known for his sense of humor and his solid work ethic. Jack was dedicated to serving his family and his community, and he was always willing to go above and beyond to help those in need. He was a shining example of kindness and determination. Though he will be dearly missed, Jack leaves behind a priceless legacy that his loved ones will be proud to carry on in his footsteps.
John “Jack” Johnson, age 96, of Kalamazoo died on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. Surviving members of his family include his seven children: Nancy Johnson, David Johnson (Sheri Ritchie), Michael (Jackie) Johnson, Lisa (Michael) Rozewski, Julie Johnson-Unwin (Brian Unwin), Deborah R. Johnson, Leslie (Jeff) Mulder, and grandchildren, Alex Aziza, Jason and Kevin Johnson, and Holly Wolf, Stephen and David Rozewski, Benjamin, Vidalia and Daniel Unwin, and Andrew, Megan and Julia Mulder; several great grandchildren; brothers and sisters: Richard, Patricia, Nancy. He was preceded in death by his wife Rita in 2007 and his brothers Donald and Robert. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 am on Thursday, November 16th at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 1150 West Centre Ave, Portage. The family will receive friends at the church one hour prior to the Mass and at a reception from 2-4 pm at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where food drinks and stories will be shared. Visit Jack’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.