Willis Johnson, 87, of Appleton, passed away on March 15, surrounded by his family. He was born March 10, 1928 to the late Selmer and Lilly Johnson, the sixth of nine children, in Blair, Wisconsin. After high school he joined the army and served as a Corporal, stationed in Italy. Willis received a BS in agriculture and science from UW-River Falls and went on to get his Masters degree in chemistry and physics and taught both at the Cochrane - Fountain City High School.
Willis married Theodora (Tedi) Polege and they were blessed with four children. They moved to Appleton and Willis worked for Integrity Insurance where he became the Vice President of Fire & Casualty Underwriting until he retired.
Willis appreciated life, the company of friends and family, and a good joke. He had many good friends with whom he enjoyed traveling, snowmobiling, golfing, bowling, hunting and fishing. In more recent years he spent his time reading, building puzzles, doing crosswords, and cheering for the Packers and Badgers. But he especially enjoyed his weekly card games with his friends. Willis was very proud of his Norwegian heritage and delighted in teaching his family how to make his favorite Norwegian dishes. Most importantly Willis had a strong faith and he loved the Lord.
Willis is survived by his beloved wife Tedi, his four children: Greg (Gail), McFarland, WI, Linnae (Brice) Plote, Neenah, WI, Kathleen (Craig), Appleton, WI, and Steve (Melissa), Eagle, CO; 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren; Five siblings: Lillian Koch, Marion Johnson, George (Lois), Leroy (Eileen), Stanley (Bonnie); Sisters in-law, Ella Mae Johnson, Juanita (Harland) Meyer, Patricia Polege, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Harvey, and sisters Bessie Schansberg and Grace Fromm.
Friends and family are invited to a celebration of Willis' life from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM on Monday, April 13, 2015, in the Sluggers Sports Bar at the Super Bowl. 2222 E. Northland Avenue, Appleton.
A special thank you to Eddie and Kevin and the caring medical staff of the ICU at Theda Clark Hospital.
Heart of the Valley Cremation Services
101 N. Elm St.