Merlin Adelbert Johnson

October 19, 1925February 25, 2014

Merlin A. Johnson Okemos, Michigan

Born October 9, 1925, passed away February 25, 2014 at the Age of 88.

Merlin was preceded in death by parents Stanley Johnson and Mabel Chase-Johnson, sister, Joyce Elsesser, and grandson Michael Johnson. He is survived by his loving wife of more than 66 years, Mary Lou, two sisters, four sons, two daughters in-law, seven grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.

Merlin left High School at age 17 to proudly serve his country during World War II as a B-17 Flying Fortress tail-gunner, flying thirty-three missions in the European Theater. Upon his return from Europe, Merlin continued his schooling and graduated from Michigan State University with a Geology degree in 1947.

As a petroleum geologist, Merlin made numerous major oil and gas discoveries in Michigan, Indiana and Oklahoma, and developed and managed underground storage resources critical to the Oil and Gas industries. His distinguished career included senior positions at Gulf Oil, Michigan Consolidated Gas, American Natural Resources, Michigan/Wisconsin Pipeline and Dart Energy. Merlin also served as chairman of the Michigan Oil and Gas Advisory Board, and was past President of the Michigan Basin Geological Society.

Upon retirement, Merlin found time for hobbies such as restoring and refinishing antique furniture, golfing, fishing, steam-trains, and painting. Most of all, he enjoyed time spent with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom he adored.

We will all remember his clever wit, wise anecdotes, caring nature, sense of humor and Lief Erickson stories... A Memorial Service will be held at The Peoples Church, 200 W. Grand River Ave., East Lansing on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 11:00am. Visitation will be held at the church at 10:00am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The Peoples Church of East Lansing in Merlin’s memory.

The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, East Lansing. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at


  • Visitation Saturday, March 1, 2014
  • Memorial Service Saturday, March 1, 2014

Merlin Adelbert Johnson

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Mike Barratt

March 8, 2014

Mary Lou and family: I was sorry to learn of Merlin's passing. Merlin hired me for my first job as a geologist at Mich. Con. in 1969. He was my mentor and teacher for that first job. I enjoyed working for him because he was tough but fair. He once told me that I could leave the office when my work was done. He also added that he found that his work was never done. I will miss his laughter and dry wit.

It was an honor to work for him and to know him.

Ellie Goff

March 1, 2014

So sorry to read of Merlin's passing. Our sympathy is with you at this difficult time. May you cherish the memories. We are at our Fort Myers condo for the winter. Will see you in the spring.

susan newcom

February 28, 2014

Dear Jann and family, So sorry for your loss. I loved seeing your brother and his wife when they would visit the arts center in Owosso. Such nice people. I am glad that I got to meet both of them.

February 28, 2014

Marlou and family. I am so sorry I could not be there for Merlin's Memorial. You are in my heart, thoughts and prayers. Merlin was such a wonderful man. Full of humor and life. I will miss him greatly. A great gentlemen. He brought so much joy to so many in his life time. Peace with you. Love Mary Mehelich (Elsesser)

Peggy Sherman

February 28, 2014

Merlin was a great neighbor and I will miss his smiling face and wit at the mailbox and our trapping and releasing chipmucks from both of our yards. I am sorry I cannot be at the memorial, as I am spending the Winter at my condo in Florida. A great Winter to have missed. My prayers go out to the family at this sad time. I will visit Mary Lou upon my return in May.

February 27, 2014

Love, Jenaye and Tamara from okemos Baryames cleaners

Tamara Nash

February 27, 2014

We are going to miss him dearly! We love you and cherished the laughter and smiles shared.