George Lyle Johnson

September 21, 2017

George Lyle Johnson, age 83, of Marion, passed away at his home in Marion on September 17, 2017, with his family at his side. He was born on September 14, 1934 to Lyle Walter and Esther C. (Grimes) Johnson in San Antonio, Texas.

He married Bonnie Jean Smeins on August 3, 1990 in Mason. George was director of personnel at Magline and Excello, was mayor and chief of police in Omer, Michigan, assistant varsity basketball coach at Marion and McBain High Schools, school board member at Arenac Eastern High School and Marion High School, he was drafted into the US Army, was a good story teller, was on the church council and as elder at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Standish. George was the founder of the Northeast Michigan Arts Council, founder of US 23 Advisory Board, founder of the Doctor Clinic in Omer, founder of region 7B Senior Services, Weed Whip Michigan Youth Corp, Post Athletic Director in th 4th Armored Division and 22nd Field Artillery US Army.

George Lyle Johnson

George Lyle Johnson

He was a confirmed member of the Lutheran Church for 54 years and a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church In Cadillac for 17 Years. He was a MHSAA referee, official umpire in high school basketball, football, and baseball. He was the director of the Johnson Family Woodcutting Club (slave driver), program director for West Oakland YMCA, State chairperson for the Michigan Employer Association, on the National Board of Directors for Region 5-US Department of Labor, founded the affirmative action program for minority and disabled veterans in job placement, co-ordinator of the Marion Old Fashioned Days including setting a World Record for most tractors in a parade.

His hobbies included hunting, fishing, storytelling, garage sales, mentoring, campfires, coffee shop regular, wood whittling of walking sticks, daily journaling, smoke outs (cigars), gardening, politics, re-sale, loved bluegrass music, country music, including Walbash Cannonball. He was the inspiration behind Bavarian Inn HOLZ-BRUCKE (German for wooden bridge built in 1979).

He is survived by his wife, Bonnie Johnson, four sons, Mark Johnson, James (Jimmie) Johnson, George Johnson, and Lyle Johnson, and four daughters, Maria (Johnson) Gillette, Teresa (Johnson) Stephens, Anne (Johnson) Prather, and Jennifer Johnson. His grandchildren are, Rachel and Jonathan Gillette, Samuel and Natalie Johnson, Katherine (Johnson) and Stephen Mesk and Arrianna Bolesky, Delania and George Lewis Johnson Jr, Hannah and Ashleigh Prather, and great grandchildren, Owen Mesko and Addison Unger. His brothers surviving him are, J.D. Kimball, Jack Johnson, and Walter Johnson.

He was preceded in death by his father, Lyle Walter Johnson, mother, Esther Lorraine Johnson (Grimes), sister, stillborn infant, and brother Kendall Johnson.

Funeral services will be held at the Cadillac Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Friday at 1:00 P.M. with Rev. Joel Hess officiating. Visitation will be on Thursday at the Burkholder Family Funeral Home in McBain from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. and from 11:00 A.M until service time at the church on Friday.

Burial will take place in the Greenwood Cemetery at Marion. Memorial contributions may be made to the George Johnson Basketball Scholarship Fund at the McBain Public High School. It is to reflect sportsmanship and enthusiasm.

Burkholder Family Funeral Home is in charge of the funeral arrangements and thoughts and prayers may be left at

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