December 26, 1922 – November 4, 2018
Clayton “Johnny” Johnson born 12-26-1922 died 11-04-2018
Clayton “Johnny” Johnson passed away 04 November 2018. He was born in Drumwright, OK on 26 December 1922 to Harvey Phillip Johnson and Hester May Cowger Johnson. He was the third of four boys born to Harvey and Hester. In the early 1920’s the family moved to Doniphan, Missouri. He and his brothers loved to spend their free time hunting, fishing and swimming in the Current River. He joined the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC’s) in 1940. It was during that time that he first set eyes on his future wife, Mary Maxine White. She was visiting her aunt who lived across the street from the CCC barracks. At the age of 17, Clayton hopped the rails and traveled the Midwest in search of work. He ended up in East St. Louis, Illinois working on the CB&Q Railroad. Clayton was at work when he heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. No one knew where that was. He was living at the Weiss Hotel in East St. Louis and later that night everyone was gathered around the radio listening to reports of the bombing. Clayton and his friend, JR Gibson, enlisted in the US Navy on 5 January 1942 in Nashville, TN and basic trained in Norfolk, VA. Clayton was assigned to the USS Cowie DD632 as a radioman. He participated in all theaters of World War II. One memorable mission was when their ship escorted the SS Contessa to the mouth of the Sebou River in Mehdia, French Morocco so it could deliver a supply of aviation fuel that was critical to North Africa. That mission’s story ended up in The Saturday Evening Post titled, “Twelve Desperate Miles.” While on leave, Clayton eloped with Mary to Maplewood, Missouri where they were married 1 May 1943. After being discharged from the Navy, when the war was over, Clayton resumed working for the railroad. He also worked part time with his brother, Kenneth, selling insurance and real estate. After 22 years with the railroad, Clayton retired and began working full time selling commercial and industrial real estate for Kenneth J. Johnson Real Estate Agency. He and his first wife, Mary, of 35 years, who passed away on 22 July 1978, had two children; Kevin Johnson and Kayla Johnson Koerber (Myron). Clayton loved to travel and his children have many fond memories of summer family vacations. One, in particular, was when they drove to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1959 to visit longtime family friends who were stationed there at the time. That was when Clayton developed a love for the state and later in life made two more visits. He married Lorene Mateyka Neubauer Tenting on 13 October 1979 and soon moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida. Clayton continued to dabble in real estate until he officially retired in 1988. He enjoyed golfing and fishing. He and Lorene did quite a bit of traveling with Las Vegas and Alaska being two of their favorite destinations. Clayton and Lorene made the difficult journey to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska when he was 83 years old. He and Lorene lived in Florida for over twenty years. They moved back to Illinois in 2009 to be closer to family.
He was proceeded in death by his parents, Harvey and Hester, two brothers, Bill and Kenneth, and his first wife, Mary White Johnson.
Clayton is survived by his wife, Lorene, of 39 years, his son Kevin of O’Fallon, Illinois and his daughter Kayla (Myron) Koerber of New Baden, Illinois; stepsons Terry Neubauer (Beth Laney) of Belleville, Illinois and Tim (Jon) Neubauer of Mount Vernon, Illinois. Also surviving are his grandsons Jacob (Kelly) Koerber of Red Bud, Illinois; Matthew (Stephanie) Koerber of Trenton, Illinois; Todd (Janine) Neubauer of Alabama and granddaughters Stacey (Jimmy) Kitchens of Alabama; Allison (Eduardo) Gonzalez of Belize and Nicole (John) Pfaudler of Alabama. He has 14 great grandchildren: Alexa, Emma, Clara, Brennan and Reid Koerber; Wenton Walker III and Dylan Walker; Jorge Gonzalez and Eduardo Gonzalez, Jr.; Jack and Timothy Pfaudler; and Gia, Alex, and Dax Neubauer. He is also survived by his brother Dale (Ruth) Johnson of Galesburg, Illinois; plus numerous nieces and nephews. And a very special mention for Karla Ramage and Keila Ramage Brosset who “Johnny” thought of as his own daughters. He held them very dear to his heart.
Clayton’s wishes were to be cremated. The family plans to have a private memorial service at a later date. Clayton will forever be remembered for his quick wit, compassion, generosity and for being a man of great integrity.
Our family would like to take this opportunity to thank The Colonnade Senior Living facility in O’Fallon, Illinois. Their staff went above and beyond to care for Clayton in a way that showed genuine compassion. We would also like to thank Heartland Hospice. They too gave Clayton excellent care. Our family cannot express enough how grateful we are for all that they did to ensure Clayton received the best care possible.
November 8, 2018
I’ve been living with my folks since May as their full time care giver. I had to share this photo of dad & mom. This is how they fell asleep sometimes. They were always touching & holding hands, & telling each other how much they loved them. That’s a good marriage.