Thomas R. Johnson, Jr.

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 and click the “View Live Service” button on the home page.



  • JIm and Sally James Posted January 18, 2021 6:28 am

    Tom and his family lived across the street from us on 43rd Street in Omaha. I grew up playing with his children. I remember when they brought home an old Model T Ford to restore. In the mid 1970s Sally and I built a new home, also across the street so we continued to be neighbors until Tom and Donna moved many years later. Fast forward to the present and we ran into Tom and Donna at Culver’s in Council Bluffs where we had moved. We had the chance to visit and catch up on old times and his family’s comings and goings over the years. We somehow continued to run into one another from time to time for the next few years. It was always a great time and we always shared the same booth and chatted for what seemed like an hour. Tom was a great guy with a great family. He will be missed by all.

  • Nancy Simmons Bouc Posted January 18, 2021 10:08 am

    He was great friends of my family. Ernie and Eillen Simmons and my parents John and Sulvia Simmons. They sat behind us in church on Sunday service. He gave the biggest hugs and kisses. I will miss him. Blessings and prayers to the family.

  • Nancy J Bouc Posted January 18, 2021 10:30 am

    He was great friends of my family. Ernie and Eillen Simmons and my parents John and Sulvia Simmons. They sat behind us in church on Sunday service. He gave the biggest hugs and kisses. I will miss him. Blessings and prayers to the family.

  • Dee Biering Posted January 19, 2021 3:25 pm

    I wish I had known my uncle better and his family–my mother, Neta May Corey, was his sister and she did talk about Uncle Tom quite a lot–We did meet the family when I was in my teens and get to have his Bear Hugs. Uncle Tom did get to see mom a couple of times and got to see her at a Family reunion. Rest in Peace Uncle Tom and will be see you when My time comes–Keep one of those Bear Hugs for Me

  • Robert McKulsky Posted January 20, 2021 9:52 am

    My prayers go out to Tom’s family. I was Tom’s supervisor in Plant Trades at Western Electric/A.T.&T. He was one of the best. If the Lord needs anything fixed up there He’s got just the guy to do it.

  • Sharron Looney Posted January 20, 2021 4:23 pm

    Uncle Tom’s sister Beth was my mom. The first time I saw, after many years, was when my husband Wally and I were headed to Virginia after Wally got out of the Air Force. After hugs and greetings the first thing he said to me, I was wondering who in the family had a nose like mine. He was a wonderful man and I wish I could of spent more time with him and Donna and got to know his children. Rest In Peace Uncle Tom I love you.

  • Lisa King Posted January 23, 2021 2:53 pm

    Such a fun guy to talk to and spend time with. I knew him and his wife from Seafarers and West Hills where I am a member. Enjoyed his company as I am sure the angels are now. He will be missed. Condolences to all of his family.

  • Taylor Johnson Posted October 20, 2021 7:26 pm

    I’m pretty sure this was my great grandfather. Matthew Johnson is my father. My condolences to the family.

    • Amee Johnson Thedens Posted December 14, 2021 3:15 pm

      Dear Taylor, he was your great grandfather. I’m sorry you only met him once as a little girl.

      Aunt Amee

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