Gaylen Johnson, after a valiant fight with cancer, passed away peacefully at home on Oct. 28, 2018 at his home, and now lives in Heaven with his friends and savior, Jesus Christ!
Gaylen was born to Bernard and Videl Johnson on May 19, 1949 in Esterville, Iowa. Childhood days were spent on a farm near Webb, Iowa. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in psychology in 1971. Gaylen married Janet Johnson on June 5, 1971. They celebrated 47 wonderful years together. Son Christopher was born Oct. 2, 1979 and son Benjamin was born Oct. 6, 1981.
After spending two years volunteering their time and talents in the Kentucky Appalachian Mountains, they returned to Iowa City where Gaylen began dental school. After graduating in 1977, he established his first practice in Bridgewater, S.D. After moving to Galesburg, Ill. in 1998, he enjoyed dentistry for another 19 years. He was a beloved dentist. Patients enjoyed his joking demeaner and prodigious skill to put them at ease.
Always with a smile on his face, Gaylen had a love for life and loved spending time with his family. He greatly enjoyed sailing in later years. He purchased a sailboat which he named “Soulaire,” and though weak, was able to enjoy taking it out on the lake with his sons. He loved camping, being outdoors, exploring new places, photography, disc golf, and playing cribbage.
Over the years he was active in several dental associations, the Galesburg Sunrise Rotary Club and his church, both in choirs and as a deacon. He loved music and always had a song on his lips and really enjoyed singing in “The PharMeDen Four” men’s gospel quartet in South Dakota. A sharp and perpetually curious mind meant he was always tinkering, inventing, building, and problem solving. His positivity and completely selfless character should be an inspiration and model for us all.
He was loved and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Gaylen leaves behind his wife, Janet; and sons Christopher of Kansas City, Mo. and Benjamin (Sandy) and grandchildren Hannah and Noah of Cape Coral, Fla. Also mourning his loss are brother Burton and a sister Dorothy (Karl) Salscheider of Bemidji, Minn. and sister-in-law Lisa (Kevin) Litwiller of Hopedale, Ill., and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Preceding him in death were his parents and brother Eric.
A celebration of life will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11 at First Mennonite Church in Morton, Ill. Visitation will be from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Sunday at the church.
In lieu of flowers please remember to brush and floss your teeth and see your dentist regularly. And remember to appreciate your family and friends! Memorials may be made to Mennonite Central Committee for water projects in African villages or to the Illinois ADA for the Mercy Mission project which provides free one day dental clinics to qualified patients.