Gish Arthur Johnson, Jr., age 84, of Lebanon, passed away January 18, 2017 at Memorial East Hospital, Shiloh, Illinois.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love.
I have loved you and you are mine.”
We have been blessed to know and been loved by this kind, loving, generous, strong, and courageous man. We thank God for this special blessing.
Gish was born April 7, 1932 in East St. Louis, Ill. He received all the Sacraments at Holy Angels Church, in East St. Louis, Ill. He attended Holy Angels Elementary School and Central Catholic High School in East St. Louis.
After high school he became an apprentice electrician on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He enlisted in the US Navy and spent the next four years in the Seabee’s Construction Battalion as an electrician, underwater demolition team member, and a Navy radio announcer. After separating from the Navy, he served his electrical apprenticeship and became a Journeyman Electrician for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in East St. Louis. He served as the electrical foreman at the B&O shop and became the Electrical Dispatching Supervisor in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was later assigned the General Electrical Forman position in the B&O main shop in Cumberland, Md. He left the railroad eventually and took a position with the US Army in St. Louis, Mo. where he became the Project Manager for Amphibians and Watercraft, developing, building, and fielding Air Cushion Landing Craft, Logistics Support Vessels, Tug Boats and Landing Craft.
Upon retirement Gish became involved in teaching RCIA for St. Nicholas Catholic Church in O’Fallon, Ill. He was active in many of St. Vincent de Paul projects for the poor. Gish joined the Ancient Order of Hibernians in O’Fallon and served as president, secretary, and historian. He was a charter member of Yesterday’s Kid’s at St. Nicholas Church and was involved in the many ministries of the organization.
Gish was an excellent researcher, talented carpenter who built his own beautiful home, a good mechanic, electrician, and plumber. He loved gardening and reading informational material and discovered an avocation for artistic painting. Above all, Gish loved his Irish heritage and researched his family genealogy extensively.
Gish and his wife Lucia were married in 1965 and celebrated 51 years together. They resided in Lebanon, Ill. throughout their entire married life and made many friends in the nearby O’Fallon community.
He was preceded in death by his parents Gallus and Helen, nee Carroll, Johnson.
Surviving are his wife Lucia, nee Lawrence, Johnson, of Lebanon; brother Gerald (Nancy) Johnson of Swansea; and many cousins, to include two especially close cousins Donald (Donna) Frailey of Lebanon, and Donald Frailey, Jr. of O’Fallon.
The family received friends 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Sunday, January 22, 2017 at Wolfersberger Funeral Home, 102 W. Washington St., O’Fallon. The Ancient Order of Hibernians conducted a service at 6:00 pm, Sunday, at the funeral home. Visitation was also held from 10:00 – 10:45 am, Monday, January 23, 2017 at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, 625 St. Nicholas Dr., O’Fallon, Ill. Yesterday’s Kids conducted a walk-through at 10:15 am, Monday, at the church.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated with Rev. Leo Hayes presiding. Interment with military honors was held in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Belleville.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Wolfersberger Funeral Home, O’Fallon.