DR. WILLIAM H. JOHNSON (“DOC JOHNSON”)
William H. Johnson, Three Rivers, passed away peacefully at his home on Corey Lake on Saturday, March 9, 2019.
Bill was born on Dec. 12, 1928, in Elkhart, Ind., to Lorene and Herbert Johnson. He grew up in Elkhart, along with his beloved sister, Marilyn Claire (Teller), who preceded him in death in 2013.
He attended Elkhart High School before Augustana College. He graduated from Augustana in 1951, the same year he joined the United States Air Force, and subsequently the Indiana National Guard. He attended medical school at Indiana University, where he graduated in 1958. He did his residency in internal medicine at Indiana University Medical Center, until he was recalled to active duty in the USAF during the Berlin Crisis.
He met the love of his life, Ann Marie (Bacon) while both were serving in medical roles in the Air Force. He saw her walk into the Officers’ Club, turned to his friend and announced that was the woman he was going to marry. He was right — in October 1963, Bill and Ann were married at Bunker Hill Air Force Base.
Bill and Ann moved to Three Rivers, where they settled on Corey Lake, and had two children: Ernest and Jennifer. He was the President of the Corey Lake Improvement Association for several years. Bill loved the lake and his friends who lived there. It was a rare day that he didn’t announce, “It’s another beautiful day at Corey Lake.”
He continued to serve in the Air Force and Air Guard until 1988, when he retired with the rank of Brigadier General.
His many awards and recognitions include the Legion of Merit from the Secretary of the Air Force, Air National Guard Meritorious Service Award, and the Presidential Citation - Aerospace Medical Association Honors.
He was a charter member of the American College of Emergency Physicians beginning at 1969. He was a member of a group of physicians who formed the first emergency medical departments at several Michigan and Indiana Hospitals. During his many years practicing medicine, he served as chair of the Trauma and Emergency Center at Bronson Methodist Hospital, and as Medical Director of the Emergency Departments at Elkhart General Hospital and Goshen General Hospital. He later co-owned Dunlap Urgent Care Center in Goshen, Syracuse Urgent Care Center in Syracuse, and I-Med Clinic in Three Rivers.
Bill was an avid pilot, flying both military aircraft and private planes, and served as a flight surgeon throughout his Air Force career. He was a member of the Kalamazoo Hangar of the Quiet Birdmen, a pilots’ association. This membership brought him laughter, joy, thoughtful conversation, and good friendships, particularly during the last year.
Bill will be remembered for the devious twinkle in his eye, his ready laugh, his generosity to everyone around him, and his great love of books.
With the assistance of Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, he was able to spend his last two weeks at home with family and friends. He loved nothing more than looking out at Corey Lake and spending time with his family. Anyone who knew him knew that his greatest blessing in life was his wife, Ann, and he spent every day of their 55 years together letting her know how much she was loved. His last few days were spent in his favorite place with his favorite people, and plenty of laughter.
Bill is survived by his loving wife, Ann, his son Ernest Michael Johnson of Three Rivers, his daughter Jennifer (Robert) Kehoe, of Sun Prairie, Wisc., grandchildren Cody Michael Johnson, Joseph Theodore Kehoe, and George William Kehoe, nephew Mark (Paula) Teller of Wallingford, Penn., and niece Nancy Faine of Glen Ellyn, Ill.
The family will receive friends from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2019 at Hohner Funeral Home.
Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 504 S. Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 with Pastor Ken Johnson officiating.
Interment will be held at Ft. Custer National Cemetery at a later date.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or to the St. Joseph County Dive Team.
Online condolences may be shared at www.hohnerfh.com.