Theodore Johnson ’52

Theodore Starks (Ted) Johnson passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving family on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, at the age of 96. He was born May 17, 1925, the son of Theodore and Lillie (Starks) Johnson in Ensley Center, MI. He graduated from Howard City High School, Spring Arbor Junior College, Hope College, and did graduate work at Michigan State University. He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during WWII. When he returned from the war in 1946, he married his waiting sweetheart, Jeanette Berghorst. They enjoyed 59 years together until her death in 2006. Ted loved life and people and was very active to the end of his life. When adversity came in his life, he pushed through it and kept on going thus earning him the loving title of “the energizer bunny” from his family. Then in September pneumonia hit him hard, and when he realized he was losing the battle, he requested his family put him on hospice. Our beloved energizer bunny lost his earthly battle, but gained the Heavenly goal he had worked for all his life. Early in life Ted answered the call of God into the ministry pastoring churches at McCarron, Central Lake/Pleasant Valley, Grand Ledge, Big Rapids, and Grand Rapids Eastern Avenue and First Free Methodist Churches and then superintendent of the North MI Conference FMC until his retirement. Following his retirement, he served as principal of the Barryton Community Christian School and chaplain at Altercare in Big Rapids. He was also bi vocational during his pastoral years teaching at the Grand Ledge, Evart, and Morley Stanwood public schools. He loved history and ancestry and was active for many years in the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. He enjoyed traveling, visiting many states from coast to coast and the continents of Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. A highlight of his life was a trip to his ancestral homeland of Finland and meeting some of the ancestral descendants. He had a zest for life and loved times with his family, but most of all had a passion to serve the God he loved. Our loss is Heaven’s gain. Well done, good and faithful servant. Ted is survived by his children, Theodore H., Steven (Betty) Johnson, Lynette (Dale) Dosenberry, Richard (Amy Goodman) Johnson, and Jan (Dan) Moriarty; grandchildren, Michelle (Matt) Ray, Mary Jeanette Mallo, Adam (Amy) Johnson, Kyle (Iris) Johnson, Derek (Katie) Dosenberry, Thaila Johnson, Daniel Johnson, Jessica Garner, Aimee Moriarty, Rikki (John) Franklin, Traci (Matt) Burks, Jennifer Coach, Drake Moriarty; 27 great grandchildren; brothers-in-law, Gene (Carol) and Jon (Prudy) Berghorst; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Jeanette, his parents, daughters-in-law Laura Johnson and MaryAnn Schmidt, brothers Carl (Dorothy) and Victor (Alvina) Johnson, sister Ethel (Ron) Eckert, parents-in-law John and Hattie Berghorst, brothers and sisters-in-law, Bernard and Edith Berghorst, Ed and Hester Berghorst, Ed and Millie Haveman, and Peggy Berghorst. A memorial service will be at 11 a.m., Monday, November 8, 2021, at the Woods Free Methodist Church in Stanwood, MI, with Pastors Ron White and Ted H. Johnson officiating. A luncheon will follow. Burial will be in Highland View Cemetery. Ted’s family will greet friends from 2 p.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, November 7, 2021, at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids, and one hour prior to service at the church. Memorial contributions in his name may be made for the Big Rapids Free Methodist Church building fund. Share a memory or express condolences at

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