Pastor Richard Johnson, age 74, passed away on June 23, 2021, at home after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Richard was born on Feb. 22, 1947, in Rice Lake, Wis., the second of three children to George and Maybelle Johnson.
Richard grew up in Chetek, Wis., and graduated from Chetek High School. He became a Christian when he was a child and felt the call to ministry as a teenager. He knew that his life’s purpose was to serve the Lord. He attended St. Paul Bible College where he met his wife, Joyce. They were married Aug. 9, 1969, in Peaks Branch, Ky. Following college, he was called to the Advent Christian Church in LaValle, Wis., and began pastoring there in September 1971. He found his home and the love of his church family there for the past 50 years. During his years as pastor, he was involved in the building process that added a new sanctuary to the church. He loved his church family and was instrumental in starting the men’s breakfast and Monday night men’s group.
Richard lived a life of service to his Lord, his congregation, his community and to those who will miss him most, his family. Richard’s love for his family was second to none and that was evident in the way that he loved his wife, Joyce, his children, Mark and Jennifer, and his six grandchildren. He was married to Joyce for over 50 years and they enjoyed camping, traveling and singing together. He never missed a sporting event while his children were growing up; he was so proud and loved them unconditionally. Grandchildren were a blessing that Richard did not take for granted and they were a very important part of his life. He loved attending their sporting events, taking them on vacations, hunting and fishing, and simply living life with them. Richard was an avid outdoorsman who found enjoyment in hunting, fishing, and playing sports. He especially enjoyed golfing, which is a love he shared with his son, Mark, and granddaughter, Ashleigh.
Richard’s legacy will live on in the memories of the members of the LaValle community. He was a member of the gospel music group, the Valleytones, since 1974. He started the summer little league program and volunteered in other coaching opportunities in the school and community. He had a true love for sports and children. He served on the LaValle Fire Department for 35 years and served as chaplain throughout those years. Richard was a school bus driver for many years in St. Paul, Minn., Chetek and 28 years for the Reedsburg School District. He was a leader for the Advent Christian North Central Conference where he served as president and as the Advent Christian Church Camp director for 20-plus years. He was also a member of the LaValle Jaycees.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, George and Maybelle Johnson; sister, Anita Ehrhard; brother-in-law, Wayne Ehrhard; foster brother, Tiny Dunsmoor; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Rodney and Edith Brown; sister-in-law, Sharon Roberts; and sister-in-law, Rosemary Walker.
He is survived by his wife Joyce; son, Mark (Amber) Johnson; daughter, Jennifer (Tom) Goplin; brother, Greg (Cheri) Johnson; sister-in-law, Judy (Jackie) Sapp; brother-in-law, David (Beverly) Brown; grandchildren, Ashleigh, Brady, Brecken, Emily, Acacia and Oakley; cousins, nieces and nephews, along with other relatives and friends.
Through servant leadership, love, and commitment Richard served the Lord, his family, church and community. The light that he leaves behind will be carried on through Joyce, Mark, Jennifer, his grandchildren and those whose lives he touched. As we mourn the loss of a man that we loved, we know that he is with his Lord, that the battle is over, and that he is free.
Then I heard that the king of the ages,
Had fought all those battles for me,
And victory was mine for the claiming,
And now praise his name, I am free.
A celebration of life for Pastor Richard Johnson will be conducted at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, at the Advent Christian Church in LaValle with Pastor Robert Maeglin officiating.
Visitation will be on Monday, June 28, 2021, from 4–7 p.m. at the Farber Funeral Home in Reedsburg, and on Tuesday from 1 p.m. until the time of the service at the church.
The Farber Funeral Home, Reedsburg, is assisting the family.