Neil Anthony Johnson, 80, passed away on June 13, 2022, at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, IA. A visitation will be held on Monday, June 20, at St. Mary of Nazareth Catholic Church located at 4600 Meredith Dr. Des Moines, IA 50310 from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. A service will be held on Tuesday, June 21, at St. Mary of Nazareth Catholic Church at 9:30 AM with burial to follow at the Iowa Veteran’s Cemetery located at 34024 Veterans Memorial Dr. Adel, IA 50003 at 11:00 AM.
Neil was born on October 10, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois to Ralph and Helen (Rehor) Johnson. He was united in marriage to Judy Willet on 02 July 1966. Neil grew up in Hazelcrest, Illinois and after high school attended the University of Illinois. Upon graduation entered into the United States Army as an Armor Officer. Neil had quite a career and was selected by NASA for the astronaut program before being sent to the Republic of Vietnam where he served two (2) tours earning a Bronze Star with a Valor Device. While on active duty, he also obtained his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering graduating at the top of his class. He obtained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and concluded his career in the military and took his leadership skills to the Boy Scouts of America in Des Moines where he and his wife settled. There he was placed with the responsibility of reigniting the Exploring program. His passion to aid youth in identifying their potential led him to take students from the ages of 14-20 years old and help shape the workplace of tomorrow by engaging and mentoring these young people in career and life enhancing opportunities. The program paired hundreds of students with local companies and organizations for career exploration. He ran the program for 17 years and finally retired. He then spent his spare time doing woodworking projects, putting together jigsaw puzzles, continuing his extensive coin collection and becoming quite an accomplished numismatist. He also enjoyed his grandchildren and spending valuable time that was missed with his wife due to his military duties.
Neil is preceded in death by his parents Ralph and Helen Johnson, his sister Gayle Sieder, and his brother Ralph (Bud) Johnson.
Neil is survived by his wife, Judy Johnson; children, Mark Johnson and Mary Ann (Eric) Larimer; grandchildren Emily Bresser, Seth Johnson, and Gavin Larimer.
Memorial contributions for Neil Johnson and in lieu of flower donations can be made to:
Animal Rescue League of Iowa - https://www.arl-iowa.org/
Saint Joseph’s Indian School - https://www.stjo.org/