American Veteran 01

Merle O Johnson

December 7, 1931 ~ March 2, 2024 (age 92) 92 Years Old
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Merle Johnson Obituary

Merle O. Johnson, 92, of Elkhart, former owner and CEO of E.K. Blessing Co. Inc., passed away at home on Saturday, March 2, 2024, surrounded by family.

He was born on December 7, 1931, in Grand Rapids, MI to the late Byron M. and Helen V. (Figley) Johnson.  He was also preceded in death by a sister, Shirley Bunn.

Merle joined the United States Navy and after his honorable discharge in 1954, he attended the Carnegie School of Business.  He then went on to work at Richards Musical Instruments, Inc.  In 1964, Merle purchased E. K. Blessing Co., Inc. from E. Karl Blessing Jr.  Blessing manufactured brasswind musical instruments and enjoyed a worldwide market presence.  Merle later sold the company to his son, Randall, upon his retirement in 1998.

On April 9, 1955, Merle married Virginia A. Blessing in Elkhart and celebrated 69 years of marriage.  She survives along with their children; Randall A. (Brenda) Johnson and Karleen M. (Jerald) Brenneman, both of Elkhart and David W. (Erica) Johnson of Cincinnati.  He was a dear grandfather to six grandchildren: Kara (Brandon) Rogers of Granger, Brian (Randi) Brenneman of Elkhart, Megan (Robert) Pfeiffer of Granger, Meredith Johnson of Scottsdale, AZ, Kent Johnson of Cincinnati and Kirsten Johnson of Cincinnati.  Also, he was the great grandfather of Kinley and Kori Rogers, Rylee and Andrew Pfeiffer and Edelin Brenneman.  Merle is also survived by his sister, Gloria Fawley of Goshen.

Merle was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing golf.  While picking up golf later in life and having played less than 100 rounds, he was very proud of the hole in one he got at Four Lakes Country Club.

Private family services were held and burial with military honors was conducted at Rice Cemetery.  Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Merle may be made to the American Heart Association 3816 Paysphere Circle Chicago, IL 60674.

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