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Obituaries » David R. "Digger" Johnson

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David R. "Digger" Johnson

August 18, 1941 - June 21, 2020

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David Ray “Digger” Johnson, age 78 of Lima, passed away Sunday, June 21, 2020, at 12:03 p.m., at Lima Memorial Health System.

David was born Aug. 18, 1941 in Van Wert County, OH, to Allen and Marguerite (Pollock) Johnson who preceded him in death. He married Shirley Anne Clum on Sept. 30, 1962. They later divorced and she survives in Lima. Then he married Jo Ann Marie Gehrlich Ruff on Feb. 7, 1998, and she survives in Lima.

Also surviving are his children: Barry (Janeen) Johnson of Goshen, IN, Tracy (Caryn) Johnson of Findlay and Cindy (Brenda Eickholt) Johnson of Cloverdale; a stepdaughter: Elizabeth Nichols of Trenton, OH; a brother, Carl Dean (Karen) Johnson of Mendon and a sister, Mary (Larry) Hale of Naples, FL. Also surviving are eight grandchildren: Derek (Madina) Johnson, Zachary Johnson, Hannah (Scott Gay) Johnson, Alexandra (Erik) Naliborski, Aaron (Kim) Johnson and Samantha (Tyler) Henry; two step-grandchildren: Brooklyn and Kaleb Nichols; and two great-grandchildren: Rylan Capri Johnson and Byron David Johnson.

David graduated from Perry High School in 1961. For over 45 years, he owned and operated both Johnson Excavation and then Dave’s Excavating, Inc. Upon retirement, he continued to work part-time for Cardinal Bus and Ernst Concrete, both of Lima.

He was a member of the Allen East School Board, the Buckeye Farm Antiques, Inc. and the Ohio Farm Bureau Council. As a member of Shawnee United Methodist Church, he served on several administrative boards and was a member of the Choir.

He enjoyed collecting John Deere tractors, participating in Antique Tractor Pulls and tending his small hobby farm. He loved singing bass, as he participated in many seasonal cantatas around the Lima area. He was a member of the Barbershop a Capella Singing Society (4 part harmony). David sang with the local Lima Beane Chapter and competed on the International Stage with the Alliance of Greater Central Ohio Chorus and the Vocal Seniority Chorus from the Johnny Apple Seed District, winning multiple district championships and international medals. He also sang in several Barbershop Quartets. Singing afforded him the opportunity to travel and David never knew a stranger. He loved socializing with his friends and colleagues from all over the United States, and he especially enjoyed watching his grandkids as they participated in activities such as 4-H, plays, recitals and sports.

Services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, June 27, 2020 at the Shawnee Chapel of Chiles-Laman Funeral Cremation Services, with Rev. Bryan Bucher to officiate the service. Interment will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Wapakoneta. Visitation will be on Friday, from 2-4, and 6-8 p.m. in the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Harmony Foundation Society, Attn: Training of Youth, P.O. Box 24030, Nashville, TN, 37202, or the Shawnee United Methodist Church, Attn: Choir, 2600 Zurmehly Rd., Lima, OH, 45806.

Due to the closure of Shawnee Road at the railroad overpass, it is suggested you find an alternate route such as Eastown Road to Spencerville Road/S.R. 117.

Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.chiles-lamanfh.com.


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