Thayes ‘Russ’ Johnson
Thursday, June 05, 2014 11:52 AM
Thayes ‘Russ’ Johnson, 79, of the Town of Maine, Marathon County, died Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at Ministry St. Clare’s Hospital, Weston.
Russ was born March 24, 1935, in Milwaukee, as the only child of the late Dr. N.C. and Edna Johnson.
Russ went to schools in Milwaukee, Iowa, and Georgia. He served in the Naval Reserves for two years. Russ received his apprentice and journeyman certification at Kearney and Trecker, West Allis, in the 1960’s. Russ started his own sales representative business in 1964, in West Allis, and covered a six state territory for the commercial industries that used knives and blades.
In August 1965, Russ married Jacqueline Fritsch of Withee, WI. They lived near Woodruff for eight years then moved to a farm near Merrill in 1974 where the couple farmed organically, raising beef, pork, lamb, and poultry for private sales until 1998. Russ also worked in maintenance at the original Mount View Manor, then Fiskars. He went on to get his teaching degree and taught in the Machine Tool Department at NTC, Wausau, until he retired in 1990 to care for his ailing father.
During the years of 1972-1986, Russ and Jackie ran a Foster Care group home and cared for troubled teens.
Russ was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Wausau, and was a 3rd degree Master Mason in the West Allis Lodge in the 1960’s.
His love was farming – working the early years with a team of Belgians, raising hogs and beef, hunting, camping, and enjoying his time out in the countryside, which he did for 40 years.
Russ was a good friend, devoted husband, and will be remembered for his intelligence, strength, patience, dry sense of humor, generosity, and love.
Survivors include his wife, Jackie Johnson, of Merrill; two sisters-in-law, Ms. Sandra Linn, of Sheboygan, and Ms. Barbara Stansberry, of Milwaukee; and many cousins and good friends. Besides his parents, Russ was preceded in death by a favorite aunt, Leila Johnson, of Milwaukee; his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Evelyn and Myron Fritsch; and other relatives.
Memorial services will be held at 7:00 P.M., Monday, June 16, 2014, at First Presbyterian Church, Wausau. The Rev. Joy Nelson-Jeffers will preside. A time of fellowship and refreshments will follow the service. The Taylor-Stine Funeral Home, Merrill, is assisting the family with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent in Russ’ name to First Presbyterian Church: 406 Grant St., Wausau, WI 54403.
Jackie would like to thank the staff at Ministry St. Clare’s Hospital, Weston, his primary doctor and friend, Dr. R. Polireddy, Merrill, and Paula McIntyre, advisor, and staff at Marshfield Clinic - Merrill, for their dedication, support and compassion during the short yet difficult time. Also, thanks to his special friends the Rev. Joy Nelson-Jeffers, Ted and Mary Sperduto, Al and Pam Spatz and many friends and neighbors.
Online condolences may be made at www.taylorstinefuneralhome.com