Daniel Roy Johnson, of Lakewood Ranch, Florida, died in Duke University Hospital, due to respiratory failure, surrounded by his family on February 24, 2015. He was 67 years old.
Dan is survived by his wife, Linda Johnson (Dillman); his children, Jerry Johnson (Amy) of Bradenton, Florida, and Julie Johnson of South Beloit, Illinois; his granddaughters, Jasmine Johnson, Anna Scordato, Claudia Johnson, and Ellie Johnson; his brother, Jim Johnson (Karen); and brothers and sisters-in-law, Mike and Susan Mudry, Jack and Wendy Dillman; and many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Devon Johnson, of North Aurora, Illinois; his father, William Johnson, of Hernando, Florida; and his sister, Wendy Meadows of North Aurora, Illinois.
Dan was born on March 19, 1947 in Aurora, Illinois to William and Devon Johnson along with his brother, Jim and sister, Wendy. He graduated from East Aurora High School in 1965. He joined the armed forces in the Navy in 1965, serving for 7 years, leaving as a Petty Officer, Second Class in 1972. His service included time in the National Security Agency in Military Intelligence in Washington DC, Alaska, and Germany, specializing in Cryptanalysis.
After leaving the service, he began his successful manufacturing career with Caterpillar, in Aurora, Illinois. Desiring to have more impact, and not liking being a little fish in a big pond, he moved on to smaller waters, working at manufacturing companies, Cotterman Company and EGA Products, in Aurora, Illinois, serving as Plant Manager.
Ready to challenge himself further, he co-founded Weldcraft, Inc in 1989 and Jamco, Inc. in 1996. After growing Jamco successfully for 16 years, the company was sold in 2012. Ready to take on retirement with the same gusto he approached everything in life, he and his wife, Linda, built a house in an area in Florida that they had grown to love.
Dan had been active all of his life, but bravely ventured to do a triathlon in Racine Wisconsin in 1986 and became hooked on triathlons, participating in many events over the next several years. This hobby took a back seat as his work life took over, but after many years of selfless dedication to his company, several years ago Dan decided it was time to get active again and went back to swimming, biking and running and was thrilled that after 25 years he still had a love for triathlon. He jumped into the sport with fervor, participating in many triathlons, including 4 Ironman distance triathlons, one of which was the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
More important than his accomplishments in triathlon is the inspiration and encouragement that he gave to scores of people that he connected with in the sport and genuine friendships that resulted.
Despite diligent attention to diet, exercise, and lifestyle, Dan was stricken with a massive heart attack on December 28th, 2014. Through valiant efforts, Dan survived that event and despite a few wonderful days on the mend, was readmitted to the hospital with shortness of breath. A bout of pneumonia combined with the respiratory damage from the heart attack led to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). After a transfer via air ambulance to the Duke University Hospital in North Carolina, and despite the attention of some of the best doctors and nurses available, Dan was never able to recover.
Dan will be remembered for his immeasurable inspiration, boundless energy, and great spirit of selflessness.
Special thanks to his doctors and nurses at Duke University Hospital and his favorite nurse (niece) Sarah Beck.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, March 21 in North Aurora, Illinois at Union Congregational Church (405 West State Street). Visitation will be from 2-3-pm with service at 3pm. Luncheon to follow. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Dan’s life.
In lieu of flowers and donations, Dan would be thrilled if anyone would challenge themselves to take on a physical endeavor this year in his honor…be it a triathlon, 5k run, or even a personal walk around the block. If you would like Dan’s family and friends to be aware of your activity, no matter how small, please post on the Dan’s Facebook support page…at: https://www.facebook.com/IronDanFans