Frank Ollie Johnson, 77, of La Crosse passed away Sunday, February 17, 2019 at his home with his wife, daughter and son at his side. He was born on February 20, 1941 to Ollie and Josephine Johnson. Frank graduated from Shadyside (Ohio) High School and later served four years in the U.S Air Force. He graduated from UW-La Crosse in 1970 as an economics major.
He married Mary Ellen Kirkeeng on September 19, 1964 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in La Crosse. Frank was employed by Trane Co. retiring in 1998 after 34 years. He later worked at Quillin’s and Festival Foods.
Frank is survived by his wife, Mary, of 54 years, a daughter, Jodi (Richard) Tremarello of Milwaukee, and a son, David (Tina) of La Crosse; eight grandchildren, Harrison, Jack, Isabella and Evangeline Tremarello, Meghan, Hannah, Michael and Henry Johnson; brother, Bob (Phyllis) of Bellaire, Ohio; two sisters, Carol (John) Campbell of Shadyside, Ohio and Rosemary (Blane) Early of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina; sister-in-law, Sonja Banegas of La Crosse; nieces, Laurie (Bob) Nicholson of Middleton, Wisconsin and Tia (Jeff) Hrudka of West Salem; along with many other nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, James Johnson; infant daughter Julie Ann at birth; infant granddaughter Sophie Tremarello at birth; mother and father-in-law, Agnes and Milford Kirkeeng; and a brother-in-law, Jerry Banegas.
Frank was an avid sports fan who loved all Wisconsin teams despite being from Ohio. He enjoyed going to UW-La Crosse football, basketball and baseball games. Frank played football at Shadyside (Ohio) High School. He coached the Trane Co. women’s softball team for many years while also playing for various softball teams in the La Crosse area. He loved to bowl and play cards. Frank was known to “go for it” to win the hand and liked to add some table talk.
Frank and Mary enjoyed escorting many trips over several years for Jay Buckley Baseball Tours.
One of Frank’s highlights of the week was checking out the Festival Foods ad and planning his grocery list for the week. He also enjoyed “playing his numbers” for the lottery. Frank enjoyed making phone calls from daily contacts with his family in Ohio and South Carolina to checking the status of the Amtrak and the winning lottery numbers.
He was a member of American Legion Post 52 La Crosse.
He was very proud of his children and their accomplishments both professionally and personally. He was most happy spending time with his grandchildren, attending their activities and telling great wolf stories. Celebrating his grandchildren’s birthdays and successes were important to him. They all adored him.
Frank was a people person and enjoyed talking to everyone, but he was not afraid to give his opinion.
Frank will be sadly missed by all that knew and loved him. He was a very caring and giving person with a great sense of humor and an infectious smile.
A memorial service will be held at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, February 23, at Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home at 1501 West Avenue South in La Crosse. Following the service, military honors will be rendered by American Legion Post 52 La Crosse. A visitation will be held from 1 p.m. until the time of service. Pastor Harald Bringsjord of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in La Crosse will officiate.
Burial will be at Fish Creek Lutheran Church Cemetery, rural Rockland, at a later date.