Rolland L. Johnson, “Spider,” passed away on July 26, 2015, in Lansing, Michigan, after a full life of sports and jokes. On October 13, 1921, in Wakefield, Nebraska, Rolland was the first born (of 2 boys and 3 girls) to Albert Leroy and Florence Johnson. He was preceded in death by his sister, Lila, and his brother, Warren, and is survived by his two sisters Marge and Ida Mae (Tootie). Rolland’s loyal wife of 68 years, Audrey Jean, predeceased him on her 87th birthday, June 29, 2011. They were faithful members of Trinity United Methodist Church for over 50 years. Rolland was known for his uplifting attitude and willingness to help at his church and with his neighbors’ needs, along with being an avid supporter of local athletics.
Rolland attended Wakefield Community College for two years and before graduating, enlisted in the Marines where he spent over 100 days in boot camp in San Diego, California. A pre-existing broken ankle gave him an honorable discharge so he joined his family to make his home in Freeport, Illinois. It was at Micro Switch that Rolland met and married on July 10, 1943, his sister Marge’s best friend, Audrey. Together, Rolland and Audrey shared the joys of raising (also 2 boys and 3 girls) Roger (Judy), Linda, Dale, Cynthia and Nancy (Gordon). They also rejoiced in having 6 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. He was the proud uncle to 6 nieces and 4 nephews.
Rolland retired from Micro Switch (Honeywell) as a methods engineer after 40 years of loyal service. For 32 fun-filled years of retirement, Rolland was then able to participate in even more rounds of golf along with many horseshoe and bowling leagues extending far beyond Audrey’s wildest imaginations. Rolland and his sons, Roger and Dale, along with his grandsons, Brian and Tim, played many rounds of golf together at Park Hills Golf Course. Rolland golfed regularly up until the last 2 years of his life.
Rolland was instrumental, along with his good friends Mel Borger and Loren Diehl, in building the first Pretzel Fan Club Box in the football stadium. If you ever saw Rolland hammer in a nail, you would soon realize why Mel was constantly at his side when work commenced. Rolland’s other best friends were Howie Green and Buck Stout. In Lansing, Rolland found a new golfing buddy, Ray Sowden, who was just a few days older than him. Neither of them would ever admit to being beaten by a 101 year old woman in a 2007 round of golf.
Rolland and Audrey moved to Lansing, Michigan, in 2003 to be closer to their daughters and grandchildren. They were welcomed at Grand Haven Manor where they were able to enjoy many activities and develop deep friendships. They were members of Faith United Methodist Church in Lansing for over 10 years.
Per his wishes, Rolland was cremated and will be interred with his wife, Audrey, in Cedarville, Illinois, after a celebration of their lives at Trinity UMC on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 11:00am. We rejoice in the comfort of knowing that Rolland and Audrey are once again united to our Heavenly Father’s care, and know that all Christians will see them again.
A celebration will also be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, Grandhaven Manor in Lansing, Michigan.