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William L. (Bill) Johnson, 80 years old of Newaygo, passed away on Thursday evening, September 21, 2023. Bill was born in Greenville, Michigan in 1942. His parents were Raymond and Marian Johnson. He graduated from Greenville High School in 1961. Bill went to Central Michigan University and received a Bachelor's degree in 1965 and a Master's degree in 1970.
In 1967 Bill met and married Judy Johnson of Newaygo. This event changed the entire course of his life. Prior to the marriage in November, 1967, he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and became a dedicated Christian. Judy was a tremendous partner and assisted Bill throughout his life in building a successful family, career and church life. She was always the apple of his eye. Bill and Judy have two wonderful sons. Dave (Denae), the oldest is an Edward Jones rep in the Grand Rapids area. Dan (Marcy), the younger son, is the owner of Newaygo Insurance Agency in Newaygo. Both sons and their families are faithful to the Lord. The Johnsons have nine terrific grandchildren, Andrew (Dani), Shelby (Ben), Lindsey, Grace (David) and Katie (Kyle). All the grandchildren have made commitments to Christ as part of their life and are good citizens. There are also 5 great grandchildren. They include Nathan, Emma, Jolee, Hayden and Kyler. Bill is also survived by his dear sister, Carole and her husband Joe DeGennaro of Kentwood, MI as well as his dear sister-in-law, Diane, her husband Al Wright and family of Great Falls, MT.
Bill Johnson had a very interesting set of different careers during his lifetime. His first career was in teaching. In 1968 Bill and Judy moved to Ironwood, Michigan and Bill began teaching Political Science at Gogebic Community College. In 1975 Bill moved on to his second career as he became the Legislative Assistant to Congressman Phil Ruppe. The Johnson family moved to Northern Virginia and Bill worked at the US Capital in Washington, DC. In 1978 Bill embarked on his third career as the Washington Representative for Consumers Energy. In 1982 he became the Vice President of Government Affairs for Michigan Consolidated Gas Company. He was a very successful lobbyist having significant influence on many important facets of energy legislation at that time impacting the entire nation.
In 1985 Bill changed to his fourth career. He became the VP of District Operations for Michigan Consolidated Gas in Grand Rapids. He was responsible for all natural gas operations in GR, Muskegon, central & northern Michigan and the U.P. In 1990 Bill and Judy moved to Kansas City where Bill became the President & CEO of the Gas Service Division of Westar Energy. Bill & Judy enjoyed life in KC for six years. In 1996 Bill was named Chairman, President & CEO of Semco Energy and the Johnsons moved to Port Huron. Bill took early retirement from Semco in 2002 and he and Judy moved back to Newaygo. Then, came career number five. Bill started a consulting business, The Berean Group, LLC and for the next 20+ years assisted businesses and non-profits in West Michigan with strategic planning, leadership development and many other matters of importance to them. He served well over 100 clients during this time.
During all the moves and career changes Bill & Judy stayed true to their first love. They kept a strong commitment to Christ and the church. They worked together in building strong and growing adult Sunday School classes at each church they attended over 50+ years. They were equally committed to their family. All their children and grandchildren attended Christian schools growing up. The Johnson family remains active in their church and have solid commitments to the cause of Christ.
Funeral services for Bill Johnson will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, September 29, 2023 at First Baptist Church of Newaygo (1546 E. 82nd Street) with Pastor Tim Shaw officiating. Visitation will also be held at the church from 5:00-7:30 PM on Thursday, and from 10:00-11:00 AM on Friday. Interment will be at Bridgeton Township Cemetery. Suggested Memorials: First Baptist Church of Newaygo, Grace Hispanic Baptist Bible Church in Grant pastored by Pepe Morales, or the Judy Johnson Endowed Scholarship at CMU (give.cmich.edu/judyjohnson). You can sign the online guest book at www.kroeze-wolffis.com. Arrangements are by Kroeze-Wolffis Funeral Home, Inc. of Fremont.
First Baptist Church of Newaygo
1546 E. 82nd Street, Newaygo MI 49337
The Judy Johnson Endowed Scholarship at CMU
Carlin Alumni House, CMU, 524 E. Bellows Street, Mount Pleasant MI 48858
Grace Hispanic Baptist Bible Church pastored by Pepe Morales
P.O. Box 108, Grant MI 49327