Madison: On March 18, 2018, Norman Johnson died peacefully at age 90, surrounded by friends and family. Born in Detroit, he grew up on a farm in Milford, Michigan where he worked hard, became an expert in tree climbing and causing trouble with his brother, Ollie. He enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17, and spent most of his deployment on a Navy ship, which sparked his love of the water and sailing. He returned home to attend Alma College in Michigan, during which he was drafted into the Army, as he was 8 days short on his previous service. His deployment began in the States, but after trading deployments with another soldier, he was off to post-war Stuttgart, Germany. There, he worked in the Counter Intelligence Core, made lifelong friends, and traveled extensively, including to Norway and England to see his many relatives. Norman never wanted attention or accolades for his service, as he considered it a life-changing experience that opened the world to him. He returned to the US to finish college, becoming the first in his family to earn a college degree.
He is reunited with his best dance partner, Joan, whom he met while working with underprivileged youth in Detroit. They were married in 1955 and moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where, together they started in the insurance business. They purchased the Reid Bergh Agency, which became Norman E. Johnson, Inc. The business grew and they became one of the largest bond producers in Wisconsin. He was President of The Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (1987-88) and the Insurance Person of the Year in 1986. Their agency is now part of Hausmann-Johnson Insurance.
In addition to running a successful business, Norman and Joan raised 3 children, and their many activities made for a busy family life. They had many friends and were long time members of numerous organizations including, Gyro Club, Harlequin Dance Club, The Madison Club, and Blackhawk Country Club. He had a love of music, dancing and the arts. Norman was a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church for 59 years. He and Joan traveled extensively and enjoyed their cottage on Lake Mendota and memorable 4th of July parties that were held there each summer. He taught his children how to fish, snow & water ski, ice boat, and sail. Norman enjoyed many fishing trips to Canada, and eventually wintered in Vero Beach, Florida, where he still has family.
Norman was known for his sense of humor, and it was one of the aspects of his personality that never changed--from a mischievous boy with a twinkle in his eye when he was young, to the life of the party as an adult. He was a wonderful father and a devoted grandfather. His grandchildren adored him.
Norman is survived by his 3 children, Cindy (Jeff) Welch of Verona, WI; Melanie (Bill) Metcalf of Oak Park, IL; and N Scott Johnson (Bruce Rinderman) of New York, NY; and brothers Joseph Johnson, Malcolm (Brenda) Johnson, sister Kristine Johnson and brother-in-law Forest Melzer. Norman will be dearly missed by his grandchildren, Kelsey (Michael) Mukai, Colleen (Nick) Ludovice, Harrison Metcalf, Jordan Metcalf, Max Metcalf, Ginny Johnson, Olivia Johnson and his great-grandchildren, Benton Mukai and Eloise Mukai. He was preceded in death by his wife, Joan, his parents Olaf and Lillian, sister Greta Melzer, brother Ollie Johnson, nephew Robert Johnson, and sisters-in-laws Esther Johnson and Linda Johnson.
The family wishes to thank the many caregivers that came along side Norman and his family, special friends Ann & Ron May, as well as the staff at Attic Angel Place, Senior Helpers and AGRACE Hospice Care.
Visitation and service will be held at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 326 S. Segoe Rd., Madison, WI 53705 on June 30th, with the visitation to begin at 12:30, and service to follow at 2pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be given to: Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras Scholarship Fund, 455 N. Park St., Madison WI 53706, or PACTT Learning Center (In the name of Max Metcalf) 7101 Greenview Avenue Chicago, IL 60626, Pactt.org. Please share a memory.
6021 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53705
Norman was a great mentor. Always a true gentlemen. Great sense of humor. Extremely intelligent. They didn't come anymore honest. Condolences to his family. RIP Norm. Steve & Linda Squires
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