Johnson, Wayne Elliot
29 July, 1924 to
20 December, 2013
Wayne Johnson, a former Executive of Consolidated Papers, Inc. and 40 year resident of Wisconsin Rapids, passed away on 20 December, 2013 in Tucson, AZ from natural causes. He was born on 29 July, 1924, in Manhattan, Kansas to parents Harry F. Johnson and Hattie E. Cederberg
Graduating from a two room school at 15, Wayne was a 17 year old college student at Kansas State University as the Second World War began. A Navy volunteer, he was accepted into the V-12 Program at the University of Minnesota.
Nineteen year old Ensign Johnson reported to the Heavy Cruiser USS Columbus (CA-74) as the Combat Information Officer. A combat veteran; he and ship participated in the last of the Western Pacific Campaigns and after the war ended, occupation duties until April, 1946. Johnson continued to serve in the U.S. Navy Reserve, commanding the Naval Air Intelligence Reserve Unit in Minneapolis, MN before retiring as a Commander. Two of his children followed his footsteps in the Navy, retiring as senior officers (Captain Kathryn A. DiMaggio and Rear Admiral Stephen E. Johnson).
After returning from the war, he resumed studies at the University of Minnesota earning a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. His first peacetime job was with Maytag in Newton, Iowa followed by a job with Marathon Paper Company in Wisconsin. In 1956, he accepted a position with Collins Radio in Dallas, Texas where he was the Program Manager for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo communications systems.
Johnson returned to the paper industry in 1961, when he accepted the position of Production Manager, Paperboard Products Division of Consolidated Papers, Inc. in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. He held a variety of positions over the four decades that followed, retiring as Corporate Director of Industrial Engineering in 1989. Notable accomplishments included the purchase of 2 paper machines, the design and construction of a sheet conversion facility and a $17M expansion in 1982 here in Wisconsin Rapids. Consolidated Papers enjoyed an operating margin greater than 20% for 8 of his last 10 years with Consolidated.
Wayne Johnson served the community throughout the time he lived in Wisconsin Rapids, having started a Cub Scout Pack which tripled in size while he served as Cubmaster, establishing an Independent Youth Baseball League, and serving the United Methodist Church in many ways including the Chairman of the Building Committee for the church's expansion.
Johnson was an avid hunter, fisherman, semi-pro baseball player, curler, bowler, golfer and 40 year member of Bulls Eye Country Club. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Betty Johnson, who lives in Tucson, AZ; three children, Stephen Johnson, Kathryn Dimaggio and Michael Johnson; and two grandchildren, JoAnne and Brian Dimaggio.
Memorial Services were held on 26 December, 2013 in the Catalina Room at Splendido, 13500 Rancho Vistoso Boulevard, Tucson AZ 85755. Memorials in lieu of flowers can be sent to the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, 875 North Randolph Street, Suite 225, Arlington, VA 22203
Published in Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune on Jan. 3, 2014