Guy Lyle Johnson, Jr., 72, of Coal Valley, Illinois, passed away January 29, 2022 at Unity Point-Trinity, Rock Island, Illinois. Visitation will be at Wendt Funeral Home, Moline, Illinois, Friday, February 4, 2022, 4-7 pm with a memorial service beginning at 7 pm.
My Life - The Beginning
I was born at the Moline Public Hospital on November 8, 1949 in Illinois. My father was Guy Lyle Johnson Sr. and my mother was Naomi Grace (Margo) (Boone) Johnson. While under five years of age we lived in downtown Rock Island, near the old Benís Gourmet House. This is where I saw the ghost of my grandmother Minnie.
I attended Wells Grade School from kindergarten to the third grade. I loved playing outdoors. I had a beautiful collie named Lady. Lady had two puppies, Sam and Teddy. We sold Sam to another family and poor little Teddy was run over while sleeping under a neighbors car. Lady was later killed by a passing furniture delivery truck. At the time we lived just off 53rd Street in Moline. I loved living in the country and playing outside. It was then that my mother's daughter, Connie, came to live with us. She played her father against my mother for several years. She stayed with us for 2-3 years off and on before leaving. We only saw her when she wanted something. We moved and I attended Garfield Grade School, repeating the third grade and graduating the sixth grade. I was an average student who loved to read. I had a mixed breed collie named Bullets (named after Roy Roger's dog on TV) who later ran away never to be seen again. I did not enjoy my time at Wells but Garfield was a good time. Mrs. Forsyth, my third grade teacher was my favorite. I was honored to be one of her pall bearers when she passed. I had a special girl friend, Jill Johnson whose father's first name was also Guy.
While at Garfield, I was present when the old Browning Field bleachers burned down and I watched 23rd Avenue go from a brick paved street to a concrete surface. Living near Wharton Field House, I attended many pro-wrestling events and basketball games, including the Harlem Globetrotters. My interest in firearms, shooting and hunting began at this time; I bought my first firearm, an M1 carbine, through mail order for $66.
Since I lived just across the border for school districts I was able to attend Calvin Coolidge Junior High. My time there was very good. I did well in sports; wrestling and football being my favorites. I won the heavy weight (158 lbs) city championship in ninth grade. I threw the shot and disc but never enjoyed them. My best all-time girl friend was Tracy Lee Tracy. I had a classmate who had some family issues and my parents offered to take him into our home, his name was Donald Palmer. However, it did not work out as he could not adjust to our lifestyle. I have no idea what happened to him.
I went to Moline Senior High where my time there was very good. I played football and wrestled all three years, lettered in both. I dated Susanne Sandler (Class of 67) and later Kathy Gyngard (RI, Class of 67). During my junior year, I moved out of the house, never to return. It was during my senior year that Kathy became pregnant with my son Michael. I tried to join the Army but my high blood pressure prevented me from doing so. It was also during this time another girl (Pam Thompson) became pregnant with my daughter Ronda. After graduating from Moline High School, Class of 1968, I married Kathy. It ended in divorce four years later. At that time, due to me being married, I did not acknowledge the existence of Ronda. Her mother did send me photos and updates, but I was never involved in her younger years, a decision that I regret.
Out of high school, married and with a young son, I had a job at K-Mart which I left to work at J.I. Case in Rock Island. I worked there for 18 years leaving to open my own business, Moline Munitions. After my divorce from Kathy, I dated until I married Rhonda Kay Starr from Galesburg. She was a nurse at the time and the former girlfriend of my buddy, Mark Edwards. She was a good person and always game to try new things and easy to laugh. It was during our marriage that I opened my own business, which caused me to work 80-120 hours a week which tore our marriage apart, we divorced after 12 years. I met Janet Cobert, a sister of a classmate. I loved her with all my heart, but due to some unforeseen family circumstances, we divorced after only four years; my heart was badly broken. It was during this time I began working for the Illinois Department of Corrections while still maintaining my business for three more years before finally closing it down. I retired after 21 years as a Lt. and relief shift commander. I was the senior trainer, tact team member, pistol & rifle team member and Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) sniper. While I was with IDOC I met and married Svetlana Prokove, we divorced after nine years. She was a very good woman but her high maintenance desires emotionally wore me out. The end of the relationship was apparent when we were on a trip to St. Louis where we had a disagreement which resulted in her taking a bus back to Coal Valley.
I met Syndee Martin in Madison, Wisconsin at a dive shop during one of my ice (scuba) dives. We hit it off and had a very good time together. We married on September 15, 2005 and she relocated from Wisconsin to Illinois. We built a life together and had our ups and downs as it goes with any relationship, she has stuck it out the longest. Our shared enthusiasm and commitment to car restorations kept us together.
After retirement I did visit France, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Poland and Germany on a WWII tour. It was a wonderful trip, one of the highlights of my life. My trips to Russia were also special. Over the years I have been an NRA firearms instructor and a Master scuba diver. I have enjoyed reading and collecting firearms. My life has been shared with many dogs; Rollo, Mollie, the Meatloaf and Sneakers being the best.
Those that survive me are my wife, Syndee Martin, my daughter, Ronda (David) Michell of Charleston, SC along with my granddaughters, Avari (Marshall) Wells, Charleston, SC, and Ariana Mitchell of Lexington, KY.
I was preceded in death by my parents and my son, Michael.
Over the years I have had some great friends, wonderful times and adventures. Iíve had a great life.
If you wish to make a donation in my memory please let them be made to the Milan Rifle Club, 9221 51st St. W, Milan, Illinois 61264.
Obituary from Wendt Funeral Home