Thomas “Tom” Eldon Johnson, 88, Palmyra, Mo., passed away Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Ill.
Tom was born Oct. 7, 1931, to Thomas Wilson and E. Maxine Martin Johnson in Hester, Mo. He was married to Maurine Alta Mae Begley on April 13, 1952, at the First Presbyterian Church in Palmyra.
Survivors include Maurine, his wife of 67 1/2 years; a daughter, Maura Lynn (Steve) Wagner, Tipton, Mo.; three sons, Gary (Corrine) Johnson, San Tan Valley, Ariz.; and Larry and Roger Craig Johnson, Palmyra; three grandchildren, John Daniel, Kansas City, Mo.; and Robert and Angela Daniel, Sedalia, Mo.; nine great-grandchildren, Christopher Daniel, Alexa, Natalie and Max Daniel, Sarah (Austin) Friet, Samantha Hansen, Joseph (Kaylie) Hansen, and Katelynn and William Montgomery; four step-grandchildren, Paul (Carrie) Miccolis, Natalie (Eric) Zavala, Daniel (Brianna) Miccolis and Peter (Arianna) Miccolis all of Arizona; 10 step-great grandchildren, McKenna, Tyler, Elizabeth, Marissa, Nicole, Max, Miles and Effie Miccolis, and Emma and Nolan Zavala; step-father, Hugh Fessenden; a step-brother, Bill (Virginia) Fessenden, Palmyra; nieces, Linda Green, Quincy, Ill.; and Toni Logan Defendorf, North Salem, N.Y.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a baby sister, Marilyn Joann; a sister, Phyllis Drescher; a step-brother, Hubert Fessenden; and a niece, Dana Poage.
He finished his schooling in Palmyra High School, class of 1949.
Tom worked in lumber sales most of his life. He started out at Robinson Lumber and then Adair Lumber in Kirksville. He managed numerous lumber yards throughout his career and later was an independent over the road truck driver.
Tom was a military policeman in the National Guard for 10 years from March 1948 to July 1958. He was a squad leader and platoon sergeant and received the Marksman Badge and Sharpshooter Badge awards. He finished as a sergeant first class (E-6).
Music was his God-given talent. He sold garden seeds when he was six-years-old to buy his first guitar. His uncle, Neal, showed him some chords and he played his first barn dance at seven with Jimmy Meyers. He played in bands all his life until he had brain surgery in December 2016. He had his own show, The Saints Avenue Opry, for 10 years.
He lived on Highway 6 when it was still gravel and at six he would bat rocks with a broom stick for hours. When one broom would break through, his dad would find him another one. He played on the Durham, Mo., high school baseball team when he was in the fifth grade.
He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Palmyra, and was a past deacon.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m., Thursday Oct. 24, at the First Presbyterian Church in Palmyra. Rev. Roger Ricketts will officiate.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday Oct. 23, at Lewis Brothers Funeral Chapel in Palmyra.
Memorials may be made to The American Cancer Society or The American Heart Association.
Online condolences may be made, and video tribute may be viewed, at www.lewisbrothersfuneralchapel.com.