Stroo Funeral Home, Inc. 
1095 68th St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
Phone:  (616) 455-9280 
Fax: (616) 455-2035
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Michael A. Vos - Owner / Manager
 Robert K. Stroo - Owner / President 



Service Information

Bernard James "Bernie" Johnson 

Service: at Clarksville Cemetery

Memorials: Faith Hospice, 2100 Raybrook SE, #300, Grand Rapids, MI 49546


On Tuesday, May 20, 2020, we celebrated the long and fruitful life of a great American, Bernard James Johnson, age 94, of Grand Rapids.  Bernie, as he was known to friends and family, was born at the family home on Union St in Grand Rapids, MI on 9 June 1925. He was the fifth child and a fraternal twin (deceased brother, Edward Johnson) welcomed by William and his 40 year old wife, Katherine. It was a difficult way to enter the world and a difficult time in history with the depression a few years away. These limited opportunities meant cutting short his high school education at the old Creston HS and joining the United States Navy along with his twin and older brother as part of the Greatest Generation. He was proud of his military service and often told stories of faraway places and dangerous situations. After his military service he returned home to meet the love of his life (deceased) Mary Ellen Hoekstra at the 1953 "Deer Hunter Ball" in Greenville, MI. That union lasted 64 years and included many happy memories as they lived out their lives in the home of their dreams in Wyoming, MI. He secured employment at MI Bell Telephone (now AT&T) for 37 years, rising through field jobs to area switching supervisor, retiring in 1983. In his 30 + years of retirement he and "his Mary" traveled the states and volunteered at their church and other charities. He had lifetime memberships in the "Bell Telephone Pioneers" and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). As was probably common in the WWII generation citizenship meant a lot! During difficult financial times he worked odd jobs, pinched pennies and just plain “toughed it out." As a testament to the type of person he was - in his 70 years as a motor vehicle operator in the State of Michigan he never received one driving citation, no parking tickets, always filed taxes and paid bills ahead of time, and was always early to a commitment- that was who he was.  Survivors include three sons, Michael (Carmen) Troy, MI, Jeffery (Debbie) Wyoming, MI, Steven (Sharon) Traverse City, MI. Seven precious grandchildren, Rebekah, Peter, Anna, Ethan, Ryan, Kyle, and Garret, and five great grandchildren. His three brothers and sister preceded him in death but has many surviving nieces and nephews in the metro Grand Rapids area.  "He would want to be remembered simply as a good, decent man, who always tried to do right, tried to understand, and put service to others before self." Funeral services are as follows: Cremation with the ashes distributed along with his dear Mary Ellen Johnson (2017) during a Christian Ceremony at the Clarksville Cemetery, Clarksville, MI. Donations in their memory can be made to Faith Hospice, 2100 Raybrook SE, #300, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.  

1095 68TH ST SE


# Pete Kaha 2020-05-21 11:12
So sorry for your loss. He lived a life we should all strive for. His memory will last forever. Peace and comfort during this grieving period.
# Denise Blair 2020-05-20 21:50
I’m so sorry that Bernie is gone. I have so many fond memories of the whole family visiting their country cousins out in Clarksville. He and Mary were a lovely pair! ❤️❤️

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