Gene  Johnson
Gene Johnson

January 4, 1934 - June 4, 2024
Born in Pilot Mound, Iowa
Resided in West Des Moines, Iowa
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LeRoy Eugene (Gene) Johnson, West Des Moines, age 90 passed peacefully from this life to the next on June 4, 2024. Gene was born and raised in Pilot Mound, IA, on January 4, 1934, to LeRoy and Naomi Johnson. After graduation from high school, he enlisted in the Air Force where he served as Air Police. His final base assignment was in Blytheville, AR. While attending a church in town, Gene caught the eye of a sweet young woman, Wanda Wyatt, who became the love of his life. Gene married Wanda on March 18, 1956, was discharged from the AF the next day, and returned with his new bride to Iowa. The two began a life together that would last 68 years and bring into the world four children, many grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, who were the delight of his life!

Gene took advantage of the GI Bill and enrolled in college while also working and caring for his growing family. Over the next 16 years he persevered, earning his PhD in educational administration from Iowa State University in 1972. As he gained educational qualifications and job experience, Gene pursued a professional pathway in public school teaching and administration, finding new opportunities in communities around the state: Martell, Tripoli, Maxwell, Cherokee, Kingsley-Pierson, Independence, Mediapolis, West Des Moines, and Norwalk. After retiring from school administration, Gene and Wanda moved to Urbandale where he continued serving children and families part-time at Toys-R-Us in the bike department for many years. Once Gene was fully retired, he and Wanda found a new home at Woodlands Creek Retirement Community in Clive, where they enjoyed new friends and new hobbies, including bean bag baseball.

No matter the place Gene called home, his commitments to and love for God, his wife and his family never wavered. He could always be counted on to play table and yard games with children and grandchildren and never held back in expressing his delight in their every accomplishment, big or small. He loved serving in each church and community they joined throughout his life—leading music, teaching Sunday school, joining the Lion’s Club, and contributing to community relief efforts and celebrations are just a few examples. He exemplified Maya Angelou’s quote, “…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Gene’s tender heart will be remembered by many, including the staff who cared for him in his last months at Arbor Springs and Suncrest Hospice.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, LeRoy and Naomi, and his son, Jeff. He is survived by his wife Wanda, their son Mike Johnson, daughter Kathy Reschke, daughter Melissa (Schneider) and son-in-law Kevin Schneider, four sisters and their spouses and children, 12 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at Iles Westover Funeral Home in Des Moines at 10:30 a.m., Friday, June 14th, followed by military honors at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Adel. Condolences may be sent to the family c/o Melissa Schneider, 2501 Country Side Circle, West Des Moines, IA, 50265, or posted on the Iles Westover website at




Iles Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Friday, June 14, 2024
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Iles Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Friday, June 14, 2024
10:30 AM
Iowa Veterans Cemetery
34024 Veterans Memorial Drive
Adel, IA US 50003
Friday, June 14, 2024
12:30 PM