Kenneth James Joseph Johnson


Kenneth James Joseph Johnson, Sr. left this earthly life to join his Lord on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 following injuries from an auto accident.  Kenneth was born on January 29, 1921 in St. Joseph, MI to Christian Michael Johnson and Elizabeth (Garlanger) Johnson.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 9:30 AM at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 211 Church Street, St. Joseph, with Father James Morris officiating. Burial will follow at Riverview Cemetery in St. Joseph. Friends and family may visit on Friday, November 6, 2015 from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM with prayers recited at 7:00 PM at Starks & Menchinger Chapel & Cremation Services, 2650 Niles Rd., St. Joseph. Those wishing to leave an online condolence for Kenneth may do so at

He followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps and became a brickmason.  Driving around the area with him he was more than happy to point out all the many, many buildings and projects that he constructed.

He attended the St. Joseph Catholic School system where he met the love of his life, Laverne Ehrenberg/Modigell.  They were married on June 20, 1942 in the St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Shortly after he left to protect his country in WWII.  He was gone for 4 years and returned home with many stories that lasted him a lifetime.  He was especially honored to have visited the Vatican and to have met Pope Pius XII.

Ken was a deeply religious man.  He had plans to enter the priesthood, until he met LaVerne and chose to marry and have 10 children instead.

After returning from the War, he worked in his spare time building the house they raised their children in and in which he lived out the remainder of his days.

Ken was the most devoted loving husband and Father. These were the accomplishments he cherished most.

Ken never met a stranger and would start up a conversation with anyone.  He loved to tell stories and up until a few years ago he could always be found out on one of the piers talking and fishing for perch.  When the walk out to the end of the pier got too much, he could be found at the Senior Center telling stories and joking around.  Shirley Miller was a great friend to him out there and he spoke of her often and kindly.

There was never a more honest and hard working man alive.

He was a member of the International Union of Brick layers for 75 years, a devout lifelong member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church, and a 4th degree Knights of Columbus.

He was extremely proud and loved all of his 10 children, Irene (Brian) Ledford, Carol (Dennis) Day, Kenneth Johnson Jr., Michael (Marlene) Johnson, Ruth(Butch) Franks, Judy (Dr. Allen) Zencka, Dan Johnson, Mary(Don) Bunnell, Tom Johnson and recently deceased Al (Lorry) Johnson.

His grandchildren Randy Romeo, Donald Day, Summer Seale, Mitzi Kalin, Michael Shane Ledford, Micah Johnson, Joseph Romeo, Mia Cook, Michael Johnson, Brooke Johnson and Tate Johnson. Along with 13 Great-grandchildren.  He is also survived by 5 step grandchildren Judy, Eric, Dawn Stephanie & David. And 14 great step-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife LaVerne, his youngest son Allan, his father Christian, his mother Elizabeth, his brothers Leo, Allan, Robert, Charles, William, Joseph and his sisters Alice, Betty and Ruthie.

Besides his children he is also survived by a sister Delores (Bill) Frantz, and a brother Richard Johnson (MaryJane), and many, many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.

Dad was a huge presence in our lives and he left a hole that can never be filled.  We love you Dad, your kids.  You can rest now.