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Gerald E. "Gene" Johnson, 84, 1921 Chase Street, a lifelong resident of Wisconsin Rapids, died Saturday, November 24, 2012 at the Odyssey Hospice House, Palm Springs, CA.
A memorial service for Gene will be at 2:00 PM on Saturday, December 8 at Herman-Taylor Funeral Home, Wisconsin Rapids. Revered Tim Ritter will officiate. Visitation will begin at 1:00 PM on Saturday and last until the time of services at the funeral home. Inurnment will be in Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Town of Grand Rapids. Military rite rendered by VFW Post #2534.
Mr. Johnson was born in Wisconsin Rapids, March 5th, 1928, the 4th son of John S. and Tena (Vanderploeg) Johnson, he married Irene Bautz on July 28th, 1951, in Wisconsin Rapids.
He was employed at the Biron Division of Consolidated papers, working 43 years in the quality control department until his retirement in 1990. Drafted into the army in November of 1950, he served 11 months as a combat mortar man in Korea.
A life member of the VFW, DAV and Korean War Veterans Association, he was active in the Red Dragons of the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion, and the 330th FABn veterans association.
A founding member of the Numismatists of Wisconsin in 1960, he served in all the elective offices of that organization, and edited their quarterly news magazine for over fifteen years.
A nationally known historian and numismatic writer, in 1967 he published the first state trade token book, "Trade Tokens of Wisconsin," a pioneer cataloging effort that led to listings that now encompass token catalogs from thirty two states nationally. Frequently honored for his writings, Johnson received the Fare Box Literary award in 1966 and 1977, the Seigel Literary Award in 1979, the Numismatic Ambassador Award in 1980, and in 1995, was honored by the Literary Guild for the best numismatic article published in the United States.
He served on the Wisconsin Rapids District School Board from 1967 to 1971, during the planning and building of West Junior High School, and served on the board of directors of the Camp Five Museum from 1977 to 1988.
Survivors include his wife, one daughter, Susan Johnson of Slinger, WI; one son, Greg (Pamela) Johnson of Wisconsin Rapids, WI; three grandchildren, Heather Wachsmuth of Plover, William and Jon Cleveland of Colgate, WI; and two great-granddaughters, Skyler and Peyton Wachsmuth.
He was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, Roger, Kenneth and H. Dale Johnson.
Herman-Taylor Funeral Home and Cremation Center is assisting the family.
Published in Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune on Dec. 5, 2012