Jerry Walter Johnson, 82, of Topeka, passed away on October 27, 2018. He was born on February 18, 1936 in Abilene, Kansas, the son of Walter F. Johnson and Lucille V. (Haas) Johnson. He was raised in Abilene and Emporia, Kansas. He graduated from Emporia High School in 1954. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University in 1958 and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Kansas in 1962.
He served in city management positions for the cities of Boulder, Colorado and Hays, Kansas, and taught political science and coached tennis for Fort Hays University. He moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1965 with his first wife, Jane Lee Axcell, and two of his children, where he served as a municipal consultant to the engineering firm, Wilson-Murrow, Inc.
In 1969, he moved back to Kansas, and took a position with the Menninger Foundation in Topeka. He served as the Director of Administration and as a Senior Consultant in the Menninger Leadership Center until his retirement in 1994.
Jerry played tennis, golf and was a prolific jump roper. He was a lifelong Kansas Jayhawks fan. He loved the outdoors and some of his best memories were of the river excursions he participated in during his tenure with the Menninger Leadership Center.
Jerry had a love for travel and he taught his children to get out there and see the world and meet new people. He had a great sense of humor and loved to make people laugh. Jerry was always involved in civic issues and believed it was important to stay engaged in your community and to contribute to help make a difference. He was not afraid to speak up when he saw injustice. Please be kind to others in Jerry's memory.
Jerry loved animals and had numerous dogs and cats over the years. His more recent and cherished were Buddy and Suni. He requests donations in his memory be made to the Helping Hands Humane Society in Topeka, or the Longmont Friends of Feral & Abandoned Cats in Longmont, Colorado.
Jerry is survived by his sister, Regina Madaus, her husband, Richard, of Winter Haven, Florida, and their children, Rick, Scott and Cindy; his daughter Jenny Johnson and her husband, Mark Ramirez, of Longmont, Colorado; his son Justin Johnson and his wife, Laura, and their two daughters, Lilly and Emma, of Colleyville, Texas; and his son Jeffrey Johnson, and his wife Jaime Lockwood, and their son Osiris, of San Francisco, California. His family will miss his wit, humor and grit.
Jerry donated his body to the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine. A celebration of Jerry’s life will be held on a date to be determined in the coming months.
The family extends its appreciation to the caring staff members at Aldersgate Village and Avalon Hospice, who provided exceptional care and comfort to our father in his final months.
Penwell-Gabel Mid-Town Chapel is handling arrangements. To leave a special message for Jerry's family, please click the "Share Memories" button above.