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Donald Lee Johnson

08/05/1958 - 04/19/2020

Donald (Don) Johnson passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, April 19th, 2020 while living his happy life in Apache Junction, Arizona, he was 61.  He was born August 5, 1958 in Hancock, Michigan.  Growing up he spent much of his time in Southern California before returning to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he worked as a skilled auto mechanic then as a top salesman at Public Service.  He later had his own successful business, Superior Auto in Negaunee, Michigan, for many years before selling it three years ago.  Don Continued buying and reselling cars in Arizona.  He was an avid stock car enthusiast for many years and later in life he loved four wheeling in the desert with friends and family.  He also enjoyed riding his Harley, watching old westerns, reading and fixing up his dream home with his wife Theresa.

He is survived by his loving wife Theresa Vilona Johnson, his daughter from a previous marriage Aminda Johnson, a stepson, Anthony Marietti and his wife Kate and a step daughter, Jennifer Marietti, his father Gerald and stepmom Bonnie Johnson, his sister Deborah LaPlante and husband Robert, brother-in-law Tony (Nancy) Vilona, Vince (Kristen) Vilona, Dominic (Shannon) Vilona, sisters-in-law Filomena (Craig) Wolf, stepsister Amy Byrd and stepbrothers Todd and Gregory Byrd, as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his mother Fannie Pienela Ellis, grandparents Elmy and Walfred Pienela and Ed and Edna Johnson.

Don Worked hard, lived hard, and played harder but ultimately died happy and he will be missed.  Those who knew him know that he didn’t particularly care for parties and social events but we can’t let him go without a celebration of life, this will take place in Upper Michigan this summer.  Please look for an announcement in the Mining Journal sometime in June or July.




  • Deb LaPlante (Johnson)

    I will miss you terribly.

  • Thersa, mike and I are thinking of you and sending hugs and prayers if you need anything we are here you for

  • Adrienne & Mike DiMuro

    So very sorry for your loss..we are sending prayers and hugs to the family

  • Maria and David Sikal

    Love you cousin Teresa we are praying for you and the family …We so loved sitting with you and Don at Danielle’s wedding ..we had such a wonderful time getting to know him ….We are so sad to hear of his passing and the greif you are all now suffering..our hearts ache with you all
    Big Hugs xo

  • I shaken to the core. My condolences to the family.

  • Flinchum Family

    He will be missed greatly by our family. Don was one of a kind. Ride in peace dude.

  • Gary Rasmussen

    My heart and prayers are with you all. This is unbelievable. God Bless.

  • Michelle Regnei

    Oh my goodness Deb, LIFE AND LOVES, LIVING & LOVING, l LESSONS LEARNED, & THE LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROWS …… feeling the STRENGTH IN HAPPINESS & MEMORIES OF THE HEART……. but it is still so hard to let go , harder to say goodbye, or allow yourself to feel the hurt, shed the million tears, be mad cuz damn it you are gonna miss your brother…… I’m so sorry my friend….He will be missed, LORD, please send your team of Angel’s yo help ease the painful Hearts, Lord, let the wings of Angel’s carry the burden bricks. I’m here in Az if you need anything Deb. God Bless, love you my friend Michelle Regnei

  • Theresa, I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. Please extend my condolences to the rest of your family. If there’s anything I can do to help you through this, call on me.

  • Don, huge part of my life good and bad. Always my 2nd bro and I cant tell you how much we will miss you. “Love you like a brother, love you like a sister”

  • Good by old friend / boss . Blessings and condolences to his family 🙏

  • Sorry for your loss Auntie. Love and prayers from mine to yours 🙏❤️

  • Don, you will be missed Bro.

  • Nancy Sauvola-Binroth and Bill Binroth

    We are so very sorry. Our condolences to all of Don’s family. Don, our elusive cousin, who always showed up at our Sauvola reunions, it was so good to have you there!

  • Theresa we are so sorry to hear of Don’s passing . I’m Don’s 2nd cousin. We met at the last Sauvola reunion in 2018. We are Paul and Renee from the Chicago area. Our deepest condolences go out to you and the family. Don was a good man and will be missed greatly. Our heart goes out to you at this difficult loss of your loving husband Don. Sending our prayers.

  • JoAnn Sauvola Narhi and Clyde Narhi

    So enjoyed his attendance at our Sauvola reunions at the farm. A great guy, his mom Fanny was my cousin. Condolences to Teresa and family.

  • Theresa,
    Condolences to you and your family.

  • Kim Lindquist

    Thinking of you, Theresa. Glad Don was happy at the end of this life. Sorry we didn’t make the celebration today.

  • Wow, didn’t know! Well, if there is a heaven, maybe you and mom are getting along a little better up there. Cya soon!

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