Ronald Lee Johnson, 83, of Midland, went to be with the Lord, Friday, Feb. 22, 2012. He was a person with a strong Christian faith and a belief that God was directing his life. He was born July 13,1929, to Thomas and Caroline Johnson who lived in the small town of Dike, Iowa. His family moved to Cedar Falls, Iowa after the 9th grade where he finished high school while he was still 16 in 1946. He felt it was God's way of getting him a college education because he was able to join the U.S. Army
two days before the Gl bill ended on Sept. 30, 1946. He served in the 11th airborne division as a paratrooper in the U.S. army of occupation in Japan about one year giving him a familiarity with Japan and its people and customs. On returning to the U.S., He went one year to Iowa State Teacher's College and then moved to Iowa State where he earned a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and Math. At that time he married the love of his life, Joanne LeVine, in Cedar Falls on June 17, 1952. He and Joanne were both employed at Dow Corning Corporation. In 1958 he received an M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan
. He attended Harvard's Program for Management Development in 1964.
Ron believed God was directing his career at Dow Corning which lasted 39 years.
Ron spent his early years as a design engineer at various management levels developing new plant facilities for the young and growing Dow Corning as it emerged as the leading global company for the supply of new silicone and silicon products with plants all over the world.
From 1965-1971 he managed the Dow Corning's first major computer activity in the development of computer based systems for business in the U.S.
He then returned to manufacturing and engineering as he managed the Corporate Technology Centers and Process Engineering in the early 1970s.
In the late 1970s he served as U.S. Area Vice President of Manufacturing and Engineering.
In 1980, he became a Corporate Vice President and his first assignment was President of Hemlock Semiconductor. During this period, Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation (HSC), was developing new technology for an improved manufacturing process. Ron led the negotiation of the joint venture between Dow Corning and Shin-Etsu Handotai and Mitsubishi Materials which later led to the significant growth of HSC under the direction of Richard Dornboss.
Ron finished his career as Corporate Vice President and the Director of Basic Materials Businesses in 1991. After retirement he helped Larry Reed and Bill and Lorraine Miller to sell their business CPI Engineering in 1992.
Ron and Joanne have been blessed by treasured family and friends. His children include sons, Mark (Coleen), David (Kathy); and daughters, Mary (Richard) Fuentes, and Lisa (Jim) Grundy. His grandchildren include Justin, Brandon, and Evan Johnson. Joshua Ray, Kirsten (Mike) Porter, Michelle (David) Wilkins and Matthew Grundy. Great-grandchildren, Isabelle Teel, Mya Porter, and Jackson Wilkins.
Ron and Joanne have been members of Trinity Lutheran Church since 1952. Ron participated in many activities including Sunday school teaching, fund raising, small group ministry, pastor call activities, and planning and building advisor. Ron and Joanne enjoyed travel, both inside and outside the U.S., with friends.
Ron also served as an early Lay Director of the Lutheran Via de Cristo movement of Central Michigan. He was a member of the United Way board in Midland and was a member of the Advisory Council for the College of Engineering at Iowa State University. He has been a long time member of the Lion's club of Midland. He loved golf, especially with his sons, and tennis with friends.
He is also survived by his sister, Mildred Dirks; and his sister-in-law, Elberta LeVine; and many nieces and nephews.
Services will take place at 12 noon, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 3701 Jefferson Avenue, with The Rev. Gerald Ferguson officiating. Military honors will be presented by the Midland Area Veterans, and the U.S. Army. Family will receive friends at the Ware-Smith-Woolever Funeral Home, 1200 W. Wheeler St., today from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m., and at the church on Tuesday from 11 a.m. until the time of service.
Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider Trinity Lutheran Church, or Lutheran Via de Cristo of Central Michigan. Memorials and family condolences may be made through www.waresmithwoolever.com