The Johnson family is saddened to announce the passing of A. Merle Johnson, who died on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Bennington, Vt., after a brief illness.
He was born in Logan, Ohio, July 14, 1929, the son of Jacob and Effie Lock Johnson. His family moved to Jamestown, N.Y., from Ohio in 1942, and he completed his education there, graduating from Jamestown High School in 1948.
He began his 51-year career in furniture manufacturing working part-time and summers at Crawford Furniture Company in Jamestown, and became a full-time employee there after graduation. He continued his education by participating in woodworking seminars at the University of Michigan, at the University of Wisconsin, the Forest Products Laboratories at Madison, Wis., and Industrial Relations at both Wisconsin and Cornell Universities.
A. Merle Johnson
He married Mary Horan on Oct. 28, 1950, and shortly thereafter he left to serve in the U.S. Army, during the Korean War with the Signal Corps, until 1953 when he returned to Jamestown and Crawford Furniture Co., where he worked as draftsman, department supervisor, product engineer and plant engineer.
In 1967, the Johnsons moved to Bennington, Vt., where Merle worked at Hale Company as superintendent from 1967 to 1969. He worked for H.T. Cushman as a production manager until 1971 and then went to work for Green Mountain Furniture as production manager and finally as president.
In 1980, he was hired by Ethan Allen Inc. as a plant manager in their Boonville, N.Y. facility, where he worked until 1988 when he left to become plant manager, at the birthplace of Ethan Allen, that plant located in Beecher Falls, Vt. Mr. Johnson worked there as not only the plant manager, but in the following years became the general manager, northeast region in case goods manufacturing, overseeing five plants, until his retirement in l999, when he and Mary returned to Bennington.
He was a past director and vice president of New York State Woodsmens Corporation and past director of Empire State Forest Product Association. He was longtime member of the American Legion Post in Jamestown, N.Y,, in Boonville, N.Y., and in Bennington. Vt. He was also a member of the Bennington Lions Club.
Mr. Johnson was a wise, kind, loving man who took great pride in his work and his family. Nothing pleased him more than learning of the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren and spending time with them. He was so thrilled to have a grandson and great-grandson named after him. He enjoyed gardening and was a great cook, specializing in wonderful breakfasts and great soups. He and Mary loved traveling, they bought their first time share in Myrtle Beach in 1977 and every year thereafter have held an annual family reunion there. They also traveled every winter, for a couple of months, to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where they met and enjoyed the friendship of people from all over the United States and Canada. He will be greatly missed by his family and so many friends.
He was predeceased by his parents; his sister, Virginia Lemon of Springfield, Ohio; and his brother, C. Robert Johnson of Warren, Pa.
He is survived by his loving wife, Mary of 61 years. Other survivors include his two sisters: Thelma Milton and Norma Ortendahl of Jamestown, N.Y.; his three daughters: Deborah Cutler and her husband, Richard, his daughter Stephanie Cheevers, and her husband, Charles, and his daughter, Leslie Gildersleeve and her husband, Lee; seven grandchildren: Matt Cutler and his wife, Katie, Mike Cutler, Catie Cheevers, Jenny Cheevers, Alison Cheevers, CJ Cheevers, and Danlee Austin Gildersleeve; his great-grandsons, Jackson Austin and Logan Patrick Cutler; and many nieces and nephews.
There will be no calling hours. A reception to celebrate Merle's life will be held at the Mount Anthony Country Club on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, from 3 to 5 p.m.
Interment will be in the Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown, N.Y., at the convenience of the family.
If friends desire, contributions in memory of Mr. Johnson may be made to the West Wing at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center or to a charity of choice through the office the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201.
Guest book condoelence may be made at www.mahar&sonfuneralhome.net.