Merlynn Johnson, Elkader, Iowa, December 17, 2018

Merlynn John Johnson, 69, passed away on Monday, December 17, 2018, at University of Iowa Hospitals from complications after open heart surgery.  Merlynn was born on November 23, 1949, in Richmond Center, Wisconsin, to the late Ronald and Wihelmina (Grabanski) Johnson.  He grew up in the small town of Mt. Sterling, WI, with two older sisters, Marlene and Bonnie, and a younger sister, Karen, where his father, Ronald owned a cheese factory.  He graduated from Gays Mills High School and later received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Wisconsin University at Lacrosse.

He married Connie on September 5, 1980.  Their daughter, Tara Ann, was born on September 14, 1981. Shortly after, Merlynn, Connie, her four year old daughter, Kelly and Tara Ann moved to Florida. After several years in Florida they moved back to Lacrosse, Wisconsin.  They divorced and he moved to Prairie Du Chien, WI, near his sister Bonnie and Denny’s three children, Kelly, Michelle, and Barron, along with being with Tara, while taking her to many family events.

Merlynn met the love of his life, Susan (Comer) Karpan in November, 1991.  They became a couple within a few months and were together until they married on November 27, 2002, at Peace UCC, Elkader.  Susan brought with her three daughters, Nicole, Natalie, and Amber.  The family grew, with Susan’s six grandchildren, and Grandpa Mer became a big part of their lives.

Merlynn retired on January 1, 2013.  He enjoyed watching the Green Bay Packers and other sporting events with family and close friends in Elkader and Prairie du Chien.  He loved fishing, building and remodeling.  He spent many hours turning his yard into Susan’s and his favorite place to relax and enjoy nature and bird-watching.  In the past four years, Merlynn and Susan have spent their winters while staying with their dear friend, Dianne Coyne, as well as enjoying time with her children and grandchildren.

Merlynn will be remembered for his quick wit, his love of people, his wonderful laugh and being a jokester.  He touched the hearts of so many.  Merlynn will be greatly missed by his wife, Susan; daughter, Tara Ann and her sister Kelly;  sisters, Marlene Maas and Bonnie (Dennis) Fuller; sister-in-law, Sally (Comer) Brown; brother-in-law Bruce Bowles; step-daughters, Nikki (Mark) Jacobs, Natalie (Bryan) Hintz, Amber Becker; six step-grandchildren;  Daynan, Haley, Alexis, Chloe, Sam, and Sophia; many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Merlynn was preceded in death by his parents, Ronald and Wilhelmina; sister, Karen (Johnson) Bowles; brother-in-law, Jon Mass; sister-in-law, Nancy (Comer) Vogelsmeier; and mother-in-law, Vera (Cornelison Comer) Mullins.

A Memorial fund has been established.

Visitation:  3 to 6:00 PM on Friday, December 21, 2018 at Leonard-Grau Funeral Home & Crematory, Elkader.

Funeral Service: 10:30 AM on Saturday, December 22, 2018, at Peace United Church of Christ. Rev. Jon Haack officiating

Interment: St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery, Seneca, WI at 2:00 PM on Saturday, December 22, 2018.

Leonard-Grau Funeral Home & Cremation Service is assisting the family. Online condolences may be left with


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