Merlynn Johnson

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Merlynn Johnson
November 23, 1949-December 17, 2018

Merlynn John Johnson, 69, passed away on Monday, December 17, 2018, at University of Iowa Hospitals from complications after open heart surgery. Merlynn was born on November 23, 1949, in Richmond Center, Wisconsin, to the late Ronald and Wihelmina (Grabanski) Johnson.  He grew up in the small town of Mt. Sterling, WI, with two older sisters, Marlene and Bonnie, and a younger sister, Karen. His father, Ronald owned a cheese factory in Mt. Sterling. Merlynn graduated from Gays Mills High School and later received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Wisconsin University at Lacrosse.  

He married Connie on September 5, 1980. Their daughter, Tara Ann, was born on September 14, 1981. Shortly after, Merlynn, Connie, her 4-year-old daughter, Kelly, and Tara Ann moved to Florida. After several years in Florida they moved back to Lacrosse, Wisconsin. The couple divorced and Merlynn moved to Prairie du Chien, WI, near his sister Bonnie and Denny’s three children, Kelly, Michelle, and Barron, along with being near Tara, who he took to many family events.
Merlynn met the love of his life, Susan (Comer) Karpan in November, 1991. They became a couple within a few months and married on November 27, 2002, at Peace United Church of Christ, Elkader. Susan brought with her three daughters, Nicole, Natalie, and Amber. The family grew, with Susan’s six grandchildren, and Grandpa Mer became a big part of their lives.

Merlynn retired on January 1, 2013. He enjoyed watching the Green Bay Packers and other sporting events with family and close friends in Elkader and Prairie du Chien. He loved fishing, building and remodeling. He spent many hours turning his yard into Susan’s and his favorite place to relax and enjoy nature and bird watching. In the past four years, Merlynn and Susan have spent their winters while staying with their dear friend, Dianne Coyne, as well as enjoying time with her children and grandchildren.  

Merlynn will be remembered for his quick wit, his love of people, his wonderful laugh and being a jokester. He touched the hearts of so many. Merlynn will be greatly missed by his wife, Susan; daughter, Tara Ann and her sister Kelly; sisters, Marlene Maas and Bonnie (Dennis) Fuller; sister-in-law, Sally (Comer) Brown; brother-in-law Bruce Bowles; step-daughters, Nikki (Mark) Jacobs, Natalie (Bryan) Hintz, Amber Becker; six step-grandchildren, Daynan, Haley, Alexis, Chloe, Sam, and Sophia; many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.  

Merlynn was preceded in death by his parents, Ronald and Wilhelmina; sister, Karen (Johnson) Bowles; brother-in-law, Jon Mass; sister-in-law, Nancy (Comer) Vogelsmeier; and mother-in-law, Vera (Cornelison Comer) Mullins.
A memorial fund has been established.

There was a visitation Friday December 21, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Leonard-Grau Funeral Home & Crematory, Elkader. Funeral services were at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 22, 2018, at Peace United Church of Christ. Rev. Jon Haack officiated. Interment was at St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery, Seneca, WI at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 22, 2018.

Leonard-Grau Funeral Home & Cremation Service assisted the family. Online condolences may be left with

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