Gary W. Johnson

Retired USMC First Lieutenant Gary Wayne Johnson passed away peacefully in his Galena home on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at the age of 78 after a battle with cancer.

Gary was born on August 18, 1944, in Hardtner, KS.  He was raised by his grandparents on a sprawling cattle ranch where he learned to ride horses, care for animals, and farm the land.  In fact, Gary rode a horse to and from the one-room schoolhouse, he attended through 8th grade.  Gary was a loyal Jayhawk, having played two varsity sports at the University of Kansas until an injury sidelined him for his senior season.  Gary then transferred to Washburn University on an academic scholarship where he graduated cum laude.  Gary then joined the Marine Corps, attended Officers Candidate School, and served two tours of duty in Vietnam.  Shortly after a serious knee injury caused his honorable discharge from the Corps, Gary met his future wife, Charlotte, and the pair were married on May 11, 1974, just eight weeks after their first date.  Gary and Charlotte recently celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary.  Gary spent nearly his entire career working for BDI.  Not only did he genuinely love the company and his co-workers, but he was endlessly enthusiastic about his job right up until the end.  Gary was a happy, outgoing, and energetic person who loved sports, enjoyed coaching kids, and provided mentorship to many.  Gary was known for his dedication to his family and especially his dogs, whom his family knew were waiting to welcome him at the pearly gates.

Gary is survived by his wife, Charlotte, his daughter Katherine (John), his son Grant (Carrie), three grandchildren, Graham, Greyson, and Cailyn, two sisters, Janet (Lee d) and Sue (Rocky), and his aunt, Carolyn.

He was preceded in death by his beloved parents, Marie Mitchell and Marvel Johnson, grandparents, T.O. and Eva Alley, two aunts, Betty and Virginia, and Uncle Jack.

A Memorial Service will be held in the Fall for Gary.

The Furlong Funeral Chapel, Galena is assisting the family.   Online condolences may be left at

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