Russell Gary Johnson, 78, passed away at his home in Rockaway, NJ on October 5, 2021. His devoted wife, Donna, was by his side for his final moments just as she had been throughout their 56 years of marriage.
He was born in Plainfield, NJ in 1943 to Russell and Henrietta Johnson and graduated from Plainfield High School in 1961. After starting their family in Piscataway, Russ and Donna moved to Rockaway. He worked for Consolidated Bearings for over 35 years and enjoyed the opportunity to travel the country on sales calls.
Russ lived his life focused on family, faith, fishing, and the firehouse.
Each day, Russ showed his commitment to his family in both his words and deeds. Whether it was a camping road trip to Florida or sitting in the stands at a sporting event, Pop-Pop was there. For Russ, family not only included his wife, daughters, and grandchildren, but also all the other people who would stop by the house or who were part of the youth group. Everyone was always welcome to join in a meal, holiday celebration, or family game night. Compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance were an essential part of who Pop-Pop was.
Russ was a dedicated member of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Dunellen and Trinity Lutheran Church in Dover It was his faith and roles at church that have left a lasting impact on those who knew him. He was active in all aspects of the church - except reading and singing! He taught Sunday School and led the youth group for over 50 years and encouraged many young adults in their own faith journeys.
Russ was an avid fisherman and spent many days teaching his daughters, nephew, nieces, and grandchildren the joy of spending time “catching” fish and telling the tales of the one that got away. Being outside in the beauty of God’s creation was the best part of any fishing trip, even if there were no keepers that day.
For over 50 years, Russ was a volunteer firefighter. He was proud to serve his community and was renowned for his funnel cake making skills at the Fireman’s Festival each year. Throughout his travels with Donna, they often stopped at firehouses around the country just to get a chance to check out the trucks.
Russ is survived by his wife Donna; his two daughters, Beth Sickles and her partner Dave Turkot,Tracy Gandy and her husband Nathan. He is also survived by his grandchildren Rachael Naylor and her husband Anthony, Aurora, Logan, Shane, and Elle. His nieces and nephew and their families also held a special place in his heart. Russ was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Nancy Moore.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, October 14, 2021 from 4:00-8:00PM Tuttle Funeral Home, Randolph (www.tuttlefh.com). A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, October 15, 2021 at 10:00 AM at Trinity Lutheran Church, Dover. (Mask required in the church.) In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Trinity Lutheran Church’s food pantry, CrossRoads Camp in Port Murray, NJ, or the Rockaway Borough Fire Department.