Gerald F. Johnson

gerald johnson
Gerald Franklin Johnson, 86, long-time resident of New Hampton Iowa, died peacefully on November 28, 2021, at MercyOne Medical Center in Waterloo with his family and his dear companion Marjorie Bullen by his side. He gratefully commented that he had “a great run” and “more friends than a man deserved”. A Celebration of Life for Gerald Johnson will be held 2:00-4:00 PM on Saturday, July 16, 2022 at the Pub at the Pinicon in New Hampton, IA. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that memorial contributions be directed to the Marilyn Johnson Memorial Scholarship (through New Hampton Dollars for Scholars), the Carnegie Cultural Center in New Hampton, the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, MN, or the Cedar Valley Hospice (or another hospice program of the donor's choosing). The youngest of four children, Gerald was born on July 12, 1935, to George F. Johnson and Gladys Leachman Johnson and grew up on the family farm southeast of New Hampton, Iowa. He attended the Sunnydale Number 7 one-room schoolhouse, the New Hampton Community School and graduated from New Hampton High School in 1953. His love of agriculture was reflected in his involvement in FFA and 4-H, including participation in the 4-H National Club Congress in 1956. In the late 1950s, Gerald took over the family farm, raising corn, soybeans, cattle, and hogs. Married to Marilyn “Rose” (Funke) Johnson, formerly of Ossian, Iowa, for 48 years until her death in 2008, Gerald took great delight in her cooking and baking as well as her tolerance for his pranks, jokes, stories, and general tendency to embarrass her. He was convinced that she couldn’t have chosen better but she wasn’t so sure. Gerald published a cookbook of favorite family recipes in 2008, dedicating it to Rose’s memory and donating proceeds to the local food pantry. Gerald and Rose raised four girls on the family farm southeast of New Hampton. He loved being a farmer and caring for the land as its temporary custodian. Keenly interested in soil conservation, he served for five years on the Iowa Soil Conservation Committee in the early 2000s. For a time, he had an Angus cow-calf herd and took great joy in checking on the cattle and, especially, the new calves. From 1976 until his retirement in 2002, Gerald sold Pioneer seed. He was an avid gardener, becoming a Master Gardener through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Friends and family enjoyed the bountiful fruits, vegetables and sweetcorn he and Marilyn grew in their garden. He was especially proud of his flowers and a flower garden tour was offered to all visitors to the farm. Moving into New Hampton in 2007, he and Marilyn promptly established a new garden to the delight of their new neighbors who quickly became friends. Proving High School Principal Shillinglaw wrong, Gerald went on to become a respected citizen. From 1987 to 1993, he served on the New Hampton School Board, including the last five years as its president. Grateful for his education in the New Hampton School System, he established a Dollars for Scholars fund in Marilyn’s name. A natural organizer for social events, he enjoyed organizing reunions for the NHHS Class of ’53 and meeting with high school classmates at local restaurants and bars. Gerald was active in the New Hampton Lions Club, getting the Lions International Warren Colman award in 2007. For years, he manned the pancake griddle for the Lions Pancake Breakfast, eventually “retiring” to the admission ticket table. He was also active in the local Democratic Party and was a strong supporter of Ducks Unlimited. Passionately interested in local history, Gerald spent hours in Iowa antique stores and on E-bay assembling a treasure trove of New Hampton and Chickasaw Country memorabilia including postcards, trade tokens, bank notes, and local collectibles. These items were often loaned to the Carnegie Cultural Center so that others might enjoy them. In 2019 and early 2020, he worked diligently assisting Juanita Anderson in the preparation of the book “Stuff, an Ephemera Collector’s History of Chickasaw County” for the Carnegie Cultural Center. He was a life-long learner, reading avidly and attending community education lectures at Luther College Gerald was a collector – of marbles, Chickasaw County memorabilia, antique furniture, cut glass, Arm & Hammer trading cards and posters, Civil War memorabilia, and Big Little Books among other things, but also of friends and stories. He enjoyed canoeing on the Upper Iowa and exploring the beauty of the region, scuba diving in tropical waters, family vacations in the station wagon, and fishing in Canada. After his retirement, he had “business” cards made listing his title as “Transaction Facilitator”. If someone wanted half a crate of Texas peaches from the Mennonite grocery or ring bologna from the locker in Eitzen, MN, he was the go-to guy. If asked about Gerald, more than 99% of those who knew him are likely to cite his sense of humor and storytelling ability. We will all miss these gifts. Gerald is survived by his four daughters, Jennifer Johnson of De Pere, WI; Mary Johnson Hassler (Pete) of Eden Prairie, MN; Sarah Johnson-Hines (Terry) of Carmel, NY; and Suzette Johnson Conley (Patrick) of Stevens Point, WI; by three grandchildren Joseph Hassler, Minneapolis, MN; Claire Hassler, Austin, TX; and Alanna Conley, Stevens Point, WI; by his companion Marjorie Bullen, numerous nieces (including Nancy Demro, his cherished pie maker and chauffeur), nephews, and their children, and friends too numerous to count. He was preceded in death by his wife Marilyn, his beloved granddaughter Elizabeth (Liza) Hassler, his parents (George and Gladys), and all of his siblings and their spouses: Mary Ann Johnson Muench (Robert), Martha Johnson Peterson (Roger), Lloyd Johnson (Virginia). He was the last of his generation on the Johnson side, and his family deeply mourns his passing.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. Sending prayers and sympathy to the Johnson family. Albert and Gerald was class mates . I love to listen Gerald talk.

  2. Susan and family so sorry for your loss. Gerald was a great guy and story teller. Prayer for your family. Joe & Jean Rosonke

  3. To all of Gerald’s kin and loved ones, you are in my thoughts and prayers. We have shared many fond memories of “the class of 53” . This was a project that Gerald loved-getting the group together. His stories and jokes were priceless. Fondly thought of by all of us, we will mix this genuine person who loved everyone of us. Blessings to all of you. He will be missed.

  4. We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ Conway-Markham Funeral Home – New Hampton

  5. Gerald will be truly missed. He was such a dear friend to my Dad & brother John. Loved hearing all the stories. Our sympathies to Sarah & the rest of the family. Kevin & Susan(Gorman) Rentz. Mason City, Ia.

  6. My sympathy to Gerald’s family and Marge. He alway’s had many stories to tell. He will be greatlly missed.

  7. Our condolences to the Johnson family. Gerald was a unique person and certainly a good person to visit with always. Louise and Donn Harris

  8. Our deepest sympathy to the family. Gerald was a life long friend, he will be GREATLY missed. Merle & Dolly Gorman

  9. Our deepest sympathy to you all. Gerald was a joy to know. It was so fun hearing his stories and great memories of the past. He will be dearly missed in the neighborhood and community.

  10. Our sympathies to the family. So many great stories of my dad and Gerald, enjoyed hearing all of them. -Eric & Sarah (Gorman) Garman

  11. Our thoughts and prayers to the family. I have fond memories of all the stories my dad told of him and Gerald. Chad & Ellen (Gorman) Sorensen

  12. Sorry for your loss. Always enjoyed a visit with Gerald as did everyone that I know that knew him! Nay he Rest in Peace!

  13. We got to know Gerald when he moved into our neighborhood and have fond memories of our road trips (especially the fall ones), domino games, comparing the activities at our bird feeders, and listening to his many stories/jokes! He was a truly eclectic person with knowledge on many topics, an author, a chef, and generous to causes that benefited the youth of our community. Our deepest sympathies go to his daughters and all of the Johnson clan and to Marge. Kathy & George Bouska

  14. My condolences dear friends. I sat with Mr. Johnson at Liza’s graduation. He was a loving grandfather and charming dinner companion.

  15. Our deepest condolences to the Johnson family. The Community has lost a wonderful friend and citizen. Lance and Jan

  16. To my not so little Johnson girls, I am saddened to learn of your father’s passing. My memories of you as my Saturday night charges, will always be cherished. As will the kindness of your parents, and their generosity. Your father was, above all, a gentleman, besides being just a bunch of fun to be around. Thinking of your loss in this holiday season.

  17. Sorry I was unable to get back in time to make the celebration of life. My thoughts are with Jennifer, Mary, Sarah and Suzette.

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

  1. Light a Candle
  2. Light a Candle
  3. Light a Candle
  4. Light a Candle
  5. Light a Candle
  6. Light a Candle
  7. Light a Candle
  8. Light a Candle