Jerry E. Johnson
age 79, entered into Glory on January 24, 2019. He was born in Canton and was a life-long resident. When he was just a few weeks old, he was critically-ill with meningitis. A brand new invention, sulfa antibiotics, saved his life but not his hearing. He was left nearly completely deaf. His mother drove him every day from North Industry to Gibbs School in Canton, where he learned to speak and read lips. As a kid, he always had the strongest model of hearing aids, which he wore in a secret pocket sown into his t-shirts. He graduated from Canton South High School in 1957, and soon thereafter, he joined his father working at the Timken Company. Even though he was 25-year-old steelworker, his mom still laid out his pajamas, until the night she found a note that he had eloped with the love of his life, Patricia Ann. After 55 years of life together, she was still there for his every need and was beside him when he died.
Jerry is preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Lucille Johnson, and his sisters, Eileen (Clarence) Ickes and Janice (Dick) Westover. He is survived by his wife, Patty, and three children, Becky Fox (John Beverlin), Dr. Michael Johnson (Dr. Maria Young), and Jodi Adams (Richard). He is survived by six granddaughters: Mary Anne, Evelyn, and Margaret Johnson; Sarah, Emily, and Erica Betz. Jerry retired from Timken in 1999 after 40 years of dedicated service, the last twenty-five years as a machinist in the Gambrinus Roller Plant. Although he never tuned down overtime, he also never missed a school program. He always had time for homework projects at the kitchen table, and he was a coach and umpire for Perry little league baseball. After retirement, he worked another ten years at the Fisher Foods on Fulton Drive, retiring again in 2009. He was a proud member of USW Golden Lodge Local #1123 and UFCW Local #880. He belonged to Canton South Lions Club for 35 years, serving as treasurer for many years. He was a life member and deacon at North Industry Christian Church, where he happily ministered to the homebound and washed thousands of dishes at funeral dinners.
As evidenced by virtually every article of clothing he owned, Jerry was an avid supporter of local sports teams. Even on hospice, he made it for one last Indians’ game. He loved the Browns so much that he would even root for the Ravens (especially against the Steelers), knowing in his heart their true identity. He was so proud of the Cavs championship, and he was inspired by them as he fought a rare cancer called leiomyosarcoma. He never lost his sense of humor and was always quick to crack corny jokes. Jerry had great confidence in and affection for Dr. John Jakob and the great nurses at the Cancer Center. His life was extended with multiple surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, and antibodies, but when he had enough, he said so. He died comfortably in his home, surrounded by his adoring family, a fitting end to an amazing life that almost never happened. To the last day, he embraced every obstacle with enthusiasm. His life is the epitome of the famous words by Lebron James: “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”
Funeral services will be Monday January 28, 2019 at 1:00pm in the Kreighbaum-Sanders Funeral Home with Steve Kimbrel officiating. Friends and family will be received Sunday 2-4pm in the funeral home. Condolences or fond memories may be shared online at www.sandersfuneralhomes.com.
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