Norman L. Johnson

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December 26, 1929–March 11, 2024

Norman L. Johnson, age 94, of Mt. Sterling, a cherished family man, respected veteran, and friend to many, passed away peacefully on March 11, 2024. Born on Dec. 26, 1929, to Thomas and Alice (Waterman) Johnson, Norman’s life was a testament to his loving, friendly, and gentle nature, which touched the hearts of all who knew him.

Raised in Ayrshire, Iowa, Norman was a proud graduate of the local high school, where he formed the foundation of his lifelong love for learning and community. After graduation, he dedicated twenty years of service to the United States Air Force, where he served his country as an aircraft mechanic during active duty tours in Vietnam and Korea, achieving the rank of Senior Master Sergeant.

Upon returning to civilian life, Norman continued to apply his strong work ethic and dedication at Specht’s IGA in Prairie du Chien, where he was a familiar and friendly face to customers for many years. His love for the land was evident in his farming, where he found solace and joy in the rhythms of nature.

Norman’s passion for life was reflected in his hobbies. He found great pleasure in working on his two-cylinder John Deere tractors, a pastime that allowed him to combine his mechanical skills with his appreciation for agriculture. A loyal fan of the Chicago Cubs, he was glad he lived long enough to watch them win the World Series. His love for the outdoors was evident in his care for birds and his delight in cultivating flowers, which brought beauty to his surroundings and joy to those who visited. He had a special love for his dogs, cats, and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

He is survived by his loving children, Mark (Anne) Johnson and Margaret (fiancé Robert Hansel) Johnson. His legacy continues through his step-grandchildren, Tiffany (partner Eric Hall) Bell, Jacob (fiancée Krissy Ragan) Bell, Jillian (Joel) Cox, Carissa Bell, and Samantha (Wyatt Guyer) Hansel, as well as his eight step-great-grandchildren, who will miss his gentle guidance and warm presence. Norman’s siblings, Rosemary Teater and Thomas (Eddie) Johnson, along with sisters-in-law, Bobbi Smrcina, Charlotte Smrcina, and Laurayne Duerkop, and several nieces and nephews, will fondly remember his kind spirit, unwavering support, and his special cheese and sausage trays. 

Norman was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife, Marie (Smrcina) Johnson, with whom he shared a lifetime of love and cherished memories. He was also predeceased by his siblings, Dorothy (Don) Newbrough and Nancy (Roger) Peterson; his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Ruth (Thomas) McGrath, Alice (Joseph) McGrath, Francis (Mary) Smrcina, John (Rosella) Smrcina, Donald Smrcina, Daniel Smrcina, Shirley Meyer, James Smrcina, George (Norma) Smrcina, and Robert Smrcina, who have passed before him, leaving a legacy of family unity that he held dear.

Norman’s life was a beautiful tapestry woven with dedication to his country, love for his family, and a commitment to the community that will be remembered by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. His gentle demeanor, friendly smile, and loving nature will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and all who were fortunate enough to cross paths with him.

A Graveside service with military honors will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 18 at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Seneca. A luncheon will follow in the parish hall. Online Condolences may be expressed at

Memorials in Norman’s name are appreciated to Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter in Prairie du Chien. 

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