Longtime Tuolumne County resident, James Michael "Mike" Johnson passed away on Nov. 15, 2021 in Sonora. Mike leaves behind a legacy of a full life with many who loved and enjoyed his lively, genuine nature. Mike liked talking with people, meeting new people, hearing about their lives, sitting down with old friends, wrangling over ideas, sharing his life's lessons and his faith. Mike cherished his family. As a young man, Mike married LeiLani Mathy, and they raised four children: Michaelyn, Caleb, Celeste and Amber. With Mike's passion for work and LeiLani's business knowledge, they established On Grade Contracting. It became his life's work. Mike was happiest when he was working, and stated he liked the teamwork of working with other men on a project. Some of his contracts included working with Hetch Hetchy at the O'Shaughnessy Dam, The Veterans National Cemetery in Arvin, California, for the US Veterans Administration, and various local projects in Tuolumne County. After he tragically lost LeiLani to cancer in 2002, the comfort of a friend warmed into love, and he married Heidi Jolly-Wolf. He often stated that Heidi brought him joy, and for the next 19 years they devoted themselves to making a new life together, full of fun, and rich with family and friends. Mike is survived by his wife, his four children, Heidi's four children, and 16 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by LeiLani Johnson. Family and friends are invited to attend an outdoor gathering in his memory at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at Garagemahal, 19440 Stockton Road, Sonora. Covid precautions with social distancing will be observed. Parking will be across the street on Stockton Road. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Mike's favorite charity: Hope of the Nations, P.O. Box 1777, Woodbridge, CA 95258.
Published by Sonora Union Democrat from Dec. 2 to Dec. 3, 2021.
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MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
I grew up and attended school with Mike. I will miss him.
December 6, 2021
So sorry for your loss. Jim and I went to school with Mike he was a great person. He will be missed
Jim & Janet Cox
December 6, 2021
When I think of Mike, I think of you both together, smiling, laughing, enjoying each other. I picture you dressed to the nines and headed out to dance the night away! I hope the many wonderful memories you made together bring you comfort in the months and years ahead. And I'm glad to know you are surrounded by family and friends who love and support you - and loved and supported Mike, too. Know that I am sending you white healing light daily.
December 5, 2021
Mike and I went all the way through Exeter Union High School and graduated together. We had a good number of adventures together in our youth and I have always looked back on our friendship with a great deal of affection, over the course of years. Mike and I had lost touch, very early on, as Mike moved away and I became a 13 year Merchant Marine Officer.
Our high school class reunion committee had brought mike and I back in contact again and we had spoken on the phone a half dozen times or more and had made very tentative plans to get together and catch up. Alas, that is never to happen.
I was genuinely looking forward to spending some face time with Mike. Even in the limited reacquaintance we had made, it was readily apparent that Mike was a force for good and just a joy to be talking with again.
I'm sure that I represent the entire EUHS Class of 1971, in saying that the world has lost a damn good man, in losing Mike and the world is a much lesser place, with his passing.
My sincere condolences.
Gary Micheal Millsaps
December 3, 2021
Mike was such gracious and fun host. He was also a dedicated, hard worker, who in recent years, did some very essential work in areas destroyed by wildfires, benefitting those devastated communities. His and Heidi´s devotion to one another was remarkable, as was the faith that sustained them, and continues to do so.