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Willard Johnson

CLARION, Iowa — Mr. Willard Johnson, 61, of Clarion, Iowa, passed away Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, at Iowa Specialty Hospital of Belmond, Iowa.

Born July 26, 1951, in Morris, Williard was the son of Donald and Bethyl (Wiley) Johnson.

Willard attended Erienna and Nettle Creek grade schools through eighth grade and graduated from Seneca High School. An active FFA member, he earned the State Farmer award as a senior at Seneca.

Willard then attended Western Illinois University for two years and later graduated with honors from Joliet Junior College, receiving an associate’s degree in agriculture.

Will’s working career included 20 years at Alumax Aluminum in Morris, where he worked in the metallurgists’ laboratory, testing metal samples for alloy content and physical properties.

In 1996, work took him to Clarion, Iowa, where he spent three years in the pork production industry before joining Stronghold Manufacturing in 1999. There, he was a machine operator, processing raw metal stock into livestock handling equipment. He loved his work and friends at Stronghold, and he became an essential member of the production team.

Will’s long-time passions included model railroading and the study of U.S. history with emphasis on the Civil War. He was active in local railroading clubs throughout his adult life, enjoying many hours of “training.”

His reading on the Civil War included all the major works on the subject along with numerous historical site visits. He was considered an authority on the subject by all who knew him.

Later in life, his interest in history focused on the study of genealogy. He compiled very substantial research on his family that will be preserved and extended. Family was important to Will.

Survivors include his parents; long-time partner, Joy Amonson of Clarion, Iowa; brothers, Dale (Peggy) of Hamilton, Ohio, Brian (JoEllyn) of Seneca; nephew and niece, Samuel and Ann; uncle, Marlyn Wiley; aunts, Charlotte Berkland, Pearl Laing and Julia Thompson; and special cousin Judy and other cousins.
Of special importance in Will’s life were his Iowa family, Lila Amonson, Cindy and Doug Riley of Clarion; Tom Riley of Cedar Falls; and Whitney Riley of Mason City.

Will was preceded in death by his grandparents; two aunts; and Richard Amonson.

Funeral services for Willard Johnson will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, at the First United Methodist Church, 201 3rd Ave. North East, in Clarion. Pastor Don Morrison will officiate.

Burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery in Clarion.

Visitation was held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, at Ewing Funeral Home, 602 North Main St. Clarion, and will continue one hour prior to services at the church.

Memorials may be left to the discretion of the family.

Ewing Funeral Home, 602 North Main St., Clarion, Iowa, is in charge of arrangements. For more information, call 515-532-2233 or visit the website

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