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William E. Johnson

Mr. William Erwin Johnson, known to his friends and colleagues as Bill, died peacefully on Thursday, January 11, 2023 at Arbor Springs in Des Moines, Iowa. He was 93.

Bill was born January 23, 1929 in Des Moines Iowa to Elizabeth Huff Johnson and Charles Johnson. He spent many of his childhood years with his sister Carolyn in Norwalk and Des Moines, Iowa. He had a lifelong passion for music and graduated with a Master’s degree from Drake University in Des Moines. He shared his passion for music by teaching piano to children and adults throughout his life.

Bill also worked for the Iowa State Employment Office in Des Moines, and later for the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) as the Director of Adult Basic Education and High School Completion. He assisted with the settlement of immigrant groups to the greater Des Moines area.

He married and raised his family in Boone and Des Moines Iowa, with his former wife, Beverly Johnson. He is survived by his two children, Leslie Johnson (Branford, CT) and William Vaughan Johnson (Des Moines, IA), and his sister Carolyn Poleri (Malvern, PA). He was preceded in death by his parents and his former wife (February 29, 2021). He leaves behind many dear friends especially Diane Messersmith, his life companion for the last 47 years.

Bill was a man of many interests. He loved music, movies, books, photography, history, travel, conversation and friends. Yellowstone National Park held a special place in his heart. He loved being challenged in chess games. For many years he helped construct a large HO-scale train set with Emmett Smith. He played in a Chamber music group and provided piano accompaniment to many student recitals and church choruses.

At his request, no services will be held. Condolences may be sent to Diane Messersmith at 3521 Davisson Road, Des Moines, Iowa, 50310.



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