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Ronald Johnson


Ronald Duane Johnson, 76, passed away unexpectedly on May 27, 2024, in Joplin, Missouri.

He was born on August 20, 1947, in Pittsburg, Kansas to Eileen [Jones] and Everett Johnson. Throughout childhood, Ron was known for his love of music, especially rock and roll.

In the 1960s, Ron became the drummer with The Infernos, a local Pittsburg band that traveled around the region playing at multiple events and venues including the Tower Ballroom.

Ron graduated from Kansas State College (now Pittsburg State) in 1970 with a degree in business administration.

In 1973, Ron married the great love of his life, Catherine Johnson, daughter of JoAnn [Merando] and Donald Johnson, also from Pittsburg. Together, they took on all of life's adventures, from new jobs to new homes to parenthood.

Ron officially retired from a successful career in sales in 2019, when he began a new career in professional tinkering. You name the project, Ron did it. One custom birdhouse would easily turn into 30 as Ron's love for others combined with his love for projects. Ron's generosity knew no bounds, and he found great joy in the giving of his time and his talents to others. His sense of humor was also limitless, as he relished dad jokes, gag gifts, and ugly sweaters at an annual Christmas party.

A lifelong drummer, Ron played with many bands including The Infernos, The Great Society, The Al Mac Trio, The Leavell Brothers, and The Bob Massey Project, and he has been recorded on multiple studio albums. In 2015, The Infernos had two reunion albums where they reprised classic rock hits. Ron also had a passion for golf and would be seen often in a Saturday morning golf group.

Ron and Cathy's adventures continued into retirement, as they found so much joy in the company of those they loved most. Trips to Michigan, Florida, and Texas with friends and family; monthly birthday celebrations; annual holiday celebrations, including a themed Christmas party with friends and golf-cart Christmas Eve caroling with family; and countless Friday lunches with "the boys" filled Ron with purpose and pride in those he loved.

He was particularly proud of his son, Brandon, who carried on his love for music. Brandon became a professional musician and music educator, which all started with drum lessons with Ron in the basement of their family home. Ron often said, "My son learned how to play the drums. I just learned how to beat on them." Repairing drums, finding bargains, and "talking shop" in their shared interest was a favorite pastime for Ron and his son. He also taught others a love for drums and music, including long-time family friend, Doug Fuller.

To meet Ron was to know a life of true joy. He would turn a bad day happy by marching into the living room with a dance and a song. He would rattle off a beat to any tune on the radio, and any flat surface was likely to be used for tapping a rhythm. Not known for great attention during game time, he would notice a prolonged pause in dominoes and ask, "Is it my turn?" You were never in want of a smile and a laugh when Ron was around.

Ron leaves a legacy of laughter, love, and loyal friendship. Ron is survived by his wife, Cathy of Joplin; his son, Brandon (Rachel) Johnson of Lee's Summit; his brother, Ken (Ilene) Johnson of Birmingham; brother-in-law Mike Johnson of Frontenac; brother-in-law Doug (Brenda) Johnson of Frontenac; and a family of life's greatest friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Eileen and Everett Johnson.

Visitation will be held from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Brenner Mortuary in Pittsburg on Saturday, June 15, 2024. A memorial service will follow at Brenner's at 2:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ron's memory to either the Joplin Humane Society, in honor of the animals he so loved, or Band of Angels, which provides musical instruments to students in need. These may be left at or mailed to the Brenner Mortuary, 114 E. 4th St., Pittsburg, KS 66762. Online condolences may be left at www.brennermortuary.com. Arrangements are under the direction of the Brenner Mortuary, Pittsburg, KS.