Rollin George ‘Ruffy’ Johnson, 85, of Prince St., Negaunee, passed away peacefully Tuesday morning, January 21, 2020 at Eastwood Nursing Center.
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Ruffy was born April 8, 1934 in Negaunee to Carl and Anna (Matta) Johnson and graduated from Negaunee High School, Class of 1951. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy, serving during the Korean War aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Beale.
Following his service to his country, Ruffy worked at K.I. Sawyer and for the U.S. Post Office in Negaunee before beginning his career as an assistant state service officer with the Department of Michigan Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1988. He began in Detroit and was transferred back to the U.P. in 1992 where he assisted across the entire Upper Peninsula. He was a fighter for veterans, served above his call of duty by attending every possible convention and meeting, and was instrumental in creating a program to name a U.P. Veteran of the Year.
Mr. Johnson was a lifetime member of V.A. Romo Post #3165, Negaunee VFW, where he held many positions including post commander in 1980-81 and 14th District Commander. He was also a member of the Disabled American Veterans and the Odd Fellows Lodge, Ishpeming. Aside from his many work and civic duties, Ruffy enjoyed gardening, hunting, playing softball for the Negaunee Old Timers, and entertaining. Most importantly, he was a family man. Ruffy loved spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Surviving are his loving wife of 64 years, Doreen (Nankervis) Johnson; son, Gary (Patricia) Johnson of Kempner, Texas; three daughters: Debbie (Greg) Larson of Escanaba, Jolene (Brad) LaFreniere of Negaunee and Lori Wood of Cortez, Colorado; his brother, Robert (Tina) Johnson of Negaunee; 10 grandchildren: Nathan (Stephanie) Johnson, Jamie (Ryan) Morin, Nicole (Logan) Carrasco, Jessica (Cornell Ballard) LaFreniere, Kelly (Jeffrey) Wright, Jordyn (Brad Saatio) LaFreniere, Jacob, Timothy and Kaitlyn Wood, and Louis Padilla; 14 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and his special canine companion, Buddy.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Carl Johnson; three sisters: Marion Grell, Myrtle Dompierre and Shirley Gleason; and his brother-in-law, Donald Nankervis.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm on Friday, January 24th at Bethany Lutheran Church in Negaunee with Michael Holman officiating. The family will greet relatives and friends from 11:00 am until the time of services at 1:00 pm at the church on Friday, and also at a luncheon in the church hall immediately following services. Pallbearers will be Russell Williams, Nathan Johnson, Greg Larson, Brad LaFreniere, Kim Hocking and Shon Johnson. Interment will take place in the Ishpeming Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed in Ruffy’s memory to the Negaunee VFW or the DJ Jacobetti Home for Veterans Activity Fund.
The Johnson family extends a special thank you to the nursing staff at Eastwood for their wonderful care provided.
Ruffy’s memorial page may be viewed at koskeyfuneralhome.com