Robert Melvin Johnson

April 20, 1927 — September 27, 2023

Service Details

Robert Melvin Johnson, 96, lived a very long life. He questioned why he was still kicking so long after he lost his beautiful wife, Gloria, after 52 years of marriage. Robert “Bob” was a family man who took great pleasure in being with his wife and three daughters, Carol (Bill) Downing, Lisa (Dan) Summers, and Susan (Garry) Hagar. His pleasure in family increased after the birth of his four grandchildren, Leslie (Blake) DeBaun, Matt (Elizabeth) Downing, Anna (Joseph) Hodgson, and Alex (Alexandra) Hagar. He was also a proud great grandpa of seven plus one more on the way.

Bob was the youngest of three brothers, Walt and Wayne, and the final living member of the Frank and Anna (Lehman) Johnson family. He grew up during the Depression, but always had fond memories of his boyhood pursuits of fishing with his dad, Sunday drives when the family harmonized to songs his parents enjoyed and playing with the neighborhood kids on Des Moines’ East Side. He was a proud graduate of East High School (1945) and filled the position of “the boy next door” when he met Gloria when she was 14 and he, 18 years old.

After high school graduation, Bob worked for the Army/Air Force at their supply depot at the Iowa State Fairgrounds toward the end of World War II. A series of different jobs finally landed him where he could use his talents by becoming a Union Lather and Union Carpenter. He took great pride in his work, and his skills followed him when he and Gloria became homeowners and parents.

Bob had a dry sense of humor and loved to tell jokes and one-liners to anyone he met. Each new grandchild became a new audience for his repertoire of old-time songs and funny quips as his daughters knew the punch lines by heart. He and Gloria loved to dance, listen to music and travel together. There was no greater Hawkeye fan than Bob, and he was thrilled to see his beloved Chicago Cubs win the World Series. Fishing, football and reading were simple pleasures he treasured. Bob was a member of Lutheran Church of Hope.

On behalf of the entire family, thank you to all the care givers and friends at Mill Pond Retirement Community for helping Bob be comfortable and happy. You are a blessing.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, October 5, 2023, at 12:00 p.m., at Hamilton’s near Highland Memory Gardens, 121 NW 60th Ave., Des Moines.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to Mill Pond, 1201 SE Mill Pond Court, Ankeny, Iowa 50021 in loving memory of Bob Johnson.

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