Rodney W. Johnson
Oct. 31, 1934 — April 18, 2016

Rodney W. Johnson passed away peacefully on April 18, 2016, at Angles-Grace Hospice, after 81 years on this earth. Rod was born on October 31, 1934, at the Johnson family farm in the Town of Vernon.

Rod has now rejoined with his parents, Matt and Gilda; his brother LeRoy; and his sisters Vivian and Doris.

Rod is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Beverly (nee Roberts); children Doug (Joyce) Johnson, Dawn (Brice) Ausenhus and Dale Johnson; and grandchildren Danielle, Alex, Blake, Kayla, Christopher and Daniel.

At age 19, Rod began working for A. Guenther & Sons General Contractors, beginning a 43-year career in construction. In 1987, Rod became a co-owner in the newly renamed Guenther-Wagner-Johnson General Contractors. During his career, Rod was proud of the many facilities he supervised the creation of, including the Klotsche Center at UWM, the South Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant, East Troy High School, the Waukesha State Office Building; the renovation of the reptile building at the Milwaukee County Zoo and churches too numerous to mention, including the below ground Central United Methodist Church. Each of these will contain a part of his living soul for as long as they stand.

Throughout his career, he gained the respect of those he worked with. Among his many awards of recognition was being named Constructor of the Year by the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Institute of Constructors in 1995.

When not working, Rod enjoyed protecting his vegetable garden from deer, wild turkeys and squirrels (some of which died of lead poisoning, he was known to say). He also enjoyed playing baseball, dartball, hunting and fishing.

Rod was a member of the Town of Vernon Planning Commission from 1981 until his passing. As an enduring resident of the town, he believed it important to bring his knowledge of the history of the area into the shaping of its future.

Rod’s was one of five families that founded the Vernon Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Throughout his life, this church was a cornerstone to his life, and he was equally supportive of it. He helped dig the basement beneath the church’s original building when he was barely a teenager. He then supervised construction of the 1989 addition to the church’s current location.

Throughout his life, he was a humble member of the congregation. Rod was regularly and steadfastly devoted to the church.

Rod lived a full life, during which he touched and enriched the lives of many others. He will be missed by all who knew him. We’ll miss his laughter. We’ll miss his caring and moral personality. All of us who were selflessly helped by him will feel the sorrow of his passing.

Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. April 23, immediately followed by services, at Vernon Evangelical Lutheran Church, S90-W27550 National Ave., Mukwonago, WI 53149.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to Vernon Evangelical Lutheran Church or AngelsGrace Hospice.

Hartson Funeral Home is serving the family. For more information, call 414-425-9797 or visit online at