Earl Eugene Gene Johnson Earl Eugene Gene Johnson, 87, of Harveyville, passed away Thursday, February 6, 2014. Gene was born in Beloit on November 30, 1926, the son of Hale and Ellen (Pierce) Johnson. He graduated from Beloit High School and Kansas State University. Gene served in the U.S. Army, where he was stationed in Japan. Survivors include his wife, Jean; daughter, Deb (Greg) Tangari, Topeka; grandsons, Robbie and Kyle Tangari; siblings, Bob (Mary) Johnson, Wamego; Jim (Patty) Bean, Topeka, Evelyn (Dennis) Trabant, Kingston WA; step-children, Daniel (Carol) Bell children and grandchildren and Debra Coats, children and grandchildren, both of Harveyville; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Gene was preceded in death by his first wife, Elaine Johnson in 2002. Gene worked for Mutual of Omaha, as sales manager and underwriter. In 1971, he started working as an alcohol and drug counselor with the Menninger Foundation. He later wrote a grant and incorporated the non-profit Alcohol Action and Safety Project to work with courts and probation officers doing evaluations and educating offenders of the risk of drinking and driving. He lobbied to encourage legislators of the need for laws regarding alcohol abuse. Working with alcoholics became his passion. He was project manager of ASAP until he retired in 1996 due to his wife, Elaine's illness. After her death, he returned part time to ASAP, and has been President of the Board of Directors until his death. Gene married Erma Jean Montgomery on July 11, 2004, at the University of Alaska Botanical Garden. Gene s sister, Evelyn officiated their ceremony. Gene found love with Jean in the golden years of their lives. Both were young in spirit and found a profound love bolstered by sharing their passion for life. They enjoyed camping with family and friends or just by themselves. They shared a love of living in the country and nurturing and guiding the younger generations of both of their families. Gene and Jean moved to Harveyville to the country lifestyle they loved. Gene became an integral part of Jean s family, participating in his son-in-law s hunting business. Their love gave Gene the gift of a son in Dan who became the son that Gene never had. He cherished the ability to hang out in camouflage with the hunters. Gene even bagged a prize turkey which Dan mounted and Gene displays prominently. Gene and Jean s love truly enhanced the lives of both of their families. Gene completed the circle in a remarkable, inspirational and memorial way. In this he succeeded as being the best husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend anyone could ask for. Gene taught us all how to live life with dignity and passion. He lived life to the fullest on his own terms and as his life came to an end he gave us all a final gift by showing us how to die with the same grace and dignity which he lived. Gene was a beloved mentor to a large and diverse community whose lives he touched. Gene gave everything to all who were fortunate enough to know him. Gene believed that family was about caring with action. He would go the extra mile for those he loved. His work with Alcoholics Anonymous, the NRA, lobbying the legislature, and through the court systems has enhanced more lives than could be counted. He has left an indelible imprint on his family, friends the communities in which he lived and the organizations in which he was involved. Gene has left behind a challenge to those of us who have the honor of following in his footsteps. It is hard to imagine that we will be worthy; however he would be greatly disappointed if we did not try. Disappointing Gene Johnson was never something anyone ever wanted to do, and further was not a very good idea. Many will miss him, his life will be remembered and celebrated by all that knew and loved him. Great job Gene well done! A celebration of Gene s life will be held at 1 p.m., Monday at Kevin Brennan Family Funeral Home, 2801 SW Urish Road, Topeka KS 66614. Family will greet friends following his service. Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, online at www.woundedwarriorproject.org, or to the Auburn Alcoholics Anonymous Group, P.O. Box 72, Auburn KS 66402. Online condolences may be sent to www.kevinbrennanfamily.com. Earl Gene Johnson
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Kevin Brennan Family Funeral Home
2801 SW Urish Road Topeka, KS 66614
Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on Feb. 9, 2014