Thomas R. Johnson, Jr.
May 21, 1931 – January 16, 2021
Thomas Riley Johnson, Jr was born in Omaha on May 21,1931 to Thomas Riley Johnson and Neta May (Cady) Johnson. He was the fourth of six children. His siblings were Beth, Terrance, Aileen, Neta and Mike. As a child he moved frequently from Nebraska to Washington State. When he was a teen, he landed at Omaha Home for Boys which helped direct him on a clearer path and helped shape him as a man. He attended Tech High School where he met the love of his life, Donna Lee Lyons. They were married at the young age of 16 and 17 in 1949 in a small, intimate ceremony. He was welcomed in by her parents, Keith and Bertha Lyons. Tom fondly gave the nickname of “Pop” to his father-in-law.
Over the course of the next thirteen years, they became parents to six children. During this time, he worked as a Millwright at the Omaha Flour Mill and went on to retire from AT&T. From there he began his adventures of traveling with his wife, spending time with his grandkids and volunteering. He was a volunteer at the Lauritzen Gardens as a Master Gardener, Pioneers, Camp Creek Threshers, AARP, and Nebraska State Highway Patrol Motor Assistance Program. Tom was a Mason and sang for the Shriner’s Chanters. He was a long-standing member of Wheeler Church and joined West Hills Church in the late 1990s. He enjoyed singing in the church choir and had a great love for Jesus.
Tom knew how to make everyone he came in contact with feel special; whether you were family or not, you were treated that way. He was known for his giant hugs and big handshakes. He wasn’t afraid to show his love to others and made sure to tell them. He took joy in working in his wood shop and tinkering around with mechanics. He knew Omaha like the back of his hand and would take several detours just to spend extra time in the car. We will all miss his tight squeezes, his raspberry cheek kisses, his goofy nature, and his gentle-giant heart.
He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Donna Lee Lyons Johnson; sons: Tom (Joyce) Johnson, David (Nancy) Johnson, Stephen (Kay) Johnson, Kevin Johnson and Timothy (June) Johnson; daughter, Amee (Steve) Thedens; grandchildren: Lindsy (Johnny) Brown, Paul Johnson, Matthew Johnson, Stephanie (Jim) Riley, Andy Johnson, Nathan (Tonya) Thedens, Ben Johnson, Chris (Somer) Johnson, Erika (Chris) Hanna, Joanna Johnson, Kelsy Johnson, Jordan (Nicole) Johnson and Tim Thedens; great-grandchildren: Anthony (Ashley) Thibault, Connor Thibault, Dawson Brown, Elee Brown, Macklin Hanna, Timothy “TJ” Riley, Everly Hanna, Lydia Colvin, Lilyon Johnson, Henrik Hanna, Isabella Riley, Gryffin Johnson, and Mikey Johnson.
VISITATION observing CDC guidelines: Tuesday, January 19th from 5pm to 7pm at the West Center Chapel. PRIVATE Funeral Service: Wednesday, January 20th at 11am. Memorials are suggested to Omaha Home for Boys and the Alzheimer’s association, Nebraska Chapter.
To view a live broadcast of the Funeral Service, go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Service” button on the home page.