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Obituary

Ronald L. Johnson died on October 18 at his home in Sycamore surrounded by friends and family. Ron was born on July 8, 1940 in Sterling, IL, to Albert and Ida Johnson. He grew up in Sheffield, IL, later moving to DeKalb where he graduated from high school. He studied at Northern Illinois University and received his Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's degree in Education. He was hired to teach Science at Sycamore High School in 1965, where he later became Head of the Science Department. Ron was a dedicated and thoughtful teacher, devoted to helping his students learn, improving his colleague's working conditions, and supporting the Sycamore community. During his time at Sycamore High School, he also coached football and baseball, and, outside of school he coached football at Sycamore Junior High School and many Little League baseball teams.
Ron received numerous awards throughout his educational career, including national recognition as Outstanding Secondary Educator of America in 1973. He retired from teaching in 2002, and turned his focus to his love of plants and gardening. After becoming a Master Gardner in 2003, he began working as the Master Gardner Coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension of DeKalb County. A longtime avid gardener, he grew many kinds of vegetables, fruits and herbs, becoming a great cook which his wife, Marge, really loved. He had a beautiful yard full of flowers, in which his grandkids loved to play and explore. He especially enjoyed setting up an elaborate ‘haunted garden' for them to experience during the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival weekend. After Marge retired from teaching in 2009, they began traveling and visited many national parks in the U.S. as well as many places in Europe. Ron loved the environment and paid close attention to the habitats of the Alaskan brown bears at Katmai. Following the love he had for his family, Ron's interests were wide - ranging from science, history, traveling, gardening, cooking and sports. He was known for his quick wit and sense of humor. He was a perpetual student of life, and his intellectual curiosity never diminished.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years Marge, daughter Anne (Rob) Bahan of Winnetka, IL, son Erik (Tracy) Johnson of Lakeville, MN, grandchildren Brendan Bahan, Makenna, Jake and Luke Johnson, and sisters Marlene (Jim) Bennett of Wheaton, IL, and Carol (Tom) Carnish of Carbondale, CO.
The family would like to thank DeKalb County Hospice and four special friends who supported Ron and Marge through this time.
A celebration of Ron's life will be held on October 27 from 1:00 - 3:00pm at the Barsema Alumni Center, 231 N. Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb, IL.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society for prostate cancer research.

Condolences & Shared Memories (3)

  1. Susan Quale (fornerly Schwarzbach)

    With deepest sympathy on your loss.

  2. Fred H Smith

    Ron taught both of my kids at Sycamore High. He was a n outstanding biologist and an even better teacher of biology. A great loss.

  3. Gary and Kristin Van De Velde

    Marge and family we are saddened with the loss of Ron. He was a special caring person. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Love Kristin and Gary


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