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Steven Johnson

Updated: 5 days ago

Steven Duane Johnson, 66, of Des Moines, Iowa, passed way on April 23, 2024, surrounded by Shaun Steven Johnson, son, Shyenne Verna Johnson, daughter, Shelby Veronica Johnson, daughter, and Lydia Hagins Johnson, daughter-in-law (Shaun).


Steve was born to Stanley and Leona Johnson, on August 21, 1957, in Buffalo Center, Iowa. He was a talented entrepreneur with an innate sense for business. After graduating from high school, Steve started working as a magazine salesman for Budget Marketing Inc. becoming the top salesman in the country throughout the 1980s. From this success, he started and owned many businesses throughout the Des Moines metro for decades, including Play Time, Iowa Beauty, and The Plaza Pub, among many others. He started his own magazine sales office through Independent Subscription Agencies (f.k.a Budget Marketing Inc.) becoming Midwest Regional Director, for the firm.


In the late 80s, Steve met his wife Veronica “Roni” Johnson in Denver, Colorado, and they fell in love immediately. Shortly thereafter, his son Shaun was born on August 16, 1990. The young couple would wed in June 1991, and later that year, welcome their daughter Shauntelle, fondly known as “Sissy” on October 19. The growing family moved to their first home on Twana Dr. in Des Moines where the couple welcomed daughter Shyenne, on July 9, 1994, followed by Shelby, on March 1, 1996.


Throughout the 90s, Steve balanced fatherhood while running Johnson Marketing Incorporated—his home magazine sales office on Twana Dr. In 1998, Steve would be diagnosed with Hepatitis C and given 5 years to live. Steve channeled this diagnosis into a non-profit charity called the Hepatic Liver Coalition with his wife Roni. Through the charity, Steve held many events with the sole purpose of raising awareness for Hepatitis C.


In the summer of ’99, Steve custom built his family’s next home in Green Meadows West of Johnston, Iowa, still lovingly known to his children as “The Big House.” Steve enjoyed hosting his family and friends at his home, including the annual Johnson Christmas Party. In the early 2000s, with his wife Roni and children, Steve would open a casserole and classic sandwich deli named Deli Dishes just off Douglas and 86th St. with a second location in the Valley West Mall food court. Shaun and Sissy would spend their summers working hand-in-hand with their parents at their family business. 


In June 2010, Steve embarked on another custom home build in Adel, Iowa. The home served as a reprieve for each of his children at different stages of their teenage and adult life; he made sure they each had a room and bed to come home to whenever needed. In need of a liver transplant, Steve’s wish to extend his life for his children came true on January 10, 2014, when the Lied Transplant Center in Omaha, Nebraska would notify him of a donor liver. Steve spent these “golden years” in retirement as a full-time father and grandpa. 


Steve moved to Des Moines in April 2023 to be closer to his children and grandchildren. He experienced mobility issues and received a lot of help around his home from each of his grandchildren. He enjoyed spending every waking moment with them and his kids.


Steve is survived by his son Shaun (Lydia), daughters Shyenne and Shelby Johnson, and grandchildren Stryker Grimm, Tanner, Tyler, and Travers O’Bryan. He is also survived by his sister Sue Newton, brother Denny (Debbie) Johnson, his nephews Blake, Billy, and Robbie Newton, Erik (Adriana) and Ryan (Angela), Casey (Paula) Johnson, and nieces Buffy Newton, Kim Sapp (John), Kerri Foukes, Kristi Williams, and Katie (Justin) Hingtnen, along with many, many beloved cousins. Steve is preceded by his parents, Stanley and Leona Johnson, daughter, Sissy, and brother, Dave Johnson. 


Steve’s family will host a celebration of life where ALL his friends and family are invited. Date and details to be announced at a future date through social media and word of mouth. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Lied Transplant Center in Steve’s name.




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