Gail “Moose” Johnson, 86, went home to be with God, his loving wife Marie, his beloved son Ryan, and many cherished family and friends on Wednesday, November 25, 2020, at Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
Gail LeRoy Johnson was born on September 21, 1934, in Atlantic, Iowa, the son of Lawrence Emery and Edna Katrina (Hansen) Johnson. He was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith and a member of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Atlantic. He grew up in Brayton and attended school in Exira. In high school, he was given the nickname “Moose” because he had the strength and power to handle anything, including being a force to reckon with on the football field. “Moose” stuck with him throughout his life; surprising since he started out as such a little squirt weighing just a few pounds at birth. He graduated from Exira High School in 1952. Gail was named to the Jack North’s All Star Honor Roll and was honored with a football scholarship because of his fierceness on the field. He reluctantly declined as he knew he needed to get a job and stick around to help his dad on the family farm. Gail started working at Culligan shortly after graduation and was a dedicated employee for over 50 years; even returning part-time after retiring.
On May 29, 1954, Gail was united in marriage to Marie Christine Pedersen. They lived their entire married life together in Atlantic, Iowa and lovingly raised three daughters and a son; Denise, Debbie, Ryan and Julie. Gail took great pride in his family and loved spending time with them every chance he could. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren brought him such joy! He enjoyed watching them in school activities, celebrating birthdays, and even schooling them in a game of cards or a game of pool at the Elk’s Lodge. Gail was a longtime member and supporter of the Elk’s in Atlantic.
Gail and Marie enjoyed traveling the country over the years, visiting various destinations all over the US. They even ventured overseas to Jamaica for grandson Nathan’s wedding. Their latest vacations took them away from the cold Iowa weather down to sunny Arizona for extended visits with Julie and Jay.
His family and friends knew him as a kind, hardworking and helpful man; always lending a hand to anyone that needed it. Gail was skilled in plumbing, electrical, concrete, and remodeling; he was a jack-of-all trades. And oh boy, did he have a green thumb and a yard that was always groomed to perfection. When it came to his garden, Gail grew some of the beefiest and tastiest tomatoes around. If you were lucky enough to ever receive one, you were blessed with the best flavor a package of bacon could be joined with. He was a sports fanatic, and the perfect day was kicking back to catch a game on TV. He followed many teams in several different sports, but had a special place in his heart for Iowa, Iowa State, the Bears, the Chiefs, and of course Cardinal’s baseball. Gail had a passion for vehicles as well. He enjoyed following all the latest trends and cruising the car lots. Gail spent many weekends washing and waxing the cars; you rarely saw a dirty Johnson vehicle! An all-time favorite for the grandchildren was going cruisin’ in Grandpa’s El Camino, AKA the “pick-up”.
Gail is survived by his three daughters, Denise (Curtis) Bradley of Corning, Iowa, Debbie (Jerry) Martin of Atlantic, Iowa, and Julie (Jay) Muhe of Yuma, Arizona; five grandchildren, Katrina (Erik) Sonntag of Atlantic, Iowa, Matt (Ashley Vorrath) Bradley of Adair, Iowa, Nathan (Brooke) Bradley of Muscatine, Iowa, Mikaela (Dusty) Gangstead of Goldfield, Iowa, and Kyleigh Maynes of Red Oak, Iowa; six great-grandchildren, Brienna (Tyler Birdsall) Steffens, Avery, Kaiden and Daxton Bradley, and Kaetin and Emmett Gangstead; sister-in-law, Ethel (Lynn) Williamson of Reno, Nevada; and several nieces, nephews, other beloved relatives and friends.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Marie C. Johnson; son, Ryan Johnson; parents, Lawrence and Edna Johnson; mother and father-in-law, Chris and Laura Pedersen; and brother, James Johnson.
A Celebration of Life Graveside Memorial Service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 12, 2021, at the Atlantic Cemetery. Following the service, a time of food and fellowship will be held from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Rumor’s Lounge in Atlantic, Iowa.
Memorials may be directed to the family for designation at a later date.
Roland Funeral Service is caring for Gail's family and his arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.rolandfuneralservice.com.
CELEBRATION OF LIFE GRAVESIDE SERVICE
10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 12, 2021 - Atlantic Cemetery - Atlantic, Iowa
Pastor Lauri Boysen - St. Paul’s Lutheran Church - Atlantic, Iowa
RECORDED MUSICAL SELECTIONS
“You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban
“I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me
“Feed Jake” by Pirates of the Mississippi
The family invites you to join them immediately following
the service for a time of food and fellowship that will be held from
11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Rumor’s Lounge in Atlantic, Iowa.