Sylvester B. Johnson of Jasper, Arkansas, passed away Dec 27, 2018 at Harrison Rehabilitation and Health facility in Harrison, Arkansas. He had been transferred from Walker Heart lnstitute at Washington Regional Hospital in Fayetteville Nov. 10, where, his pacemaker defibrillator surgery was successful.
Sylvester Bernell Johnson was born Oct 28, 1933 in Argyle, Wisconsin, to Alma Palvina Hanson Johnson and Chester Bernell Johnson, joining his brother, Karsten Lee, nearly four years old. Some seven years later, brother, Howard Elwood, was born, concluding the family of five.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother Karsten of St. George, Utah. He is survived by his wife, the former Wilma Lee Russell, presently of Jasper, Arkansas, his brother, Howard Elwood Johnson and his wife Mary Ann, of Monroe, several nieces and nephews; Howard's children, Tamara Owen, of Brooklyn, Wis, Tricia Bassett, of Monroe, Wis and Scott Johnson, of Monroe; Karsten's children: Laurie, Ronnie, Randy, Ricky and Elizabeth, from the Salt Lake City, Utah area; and many Grand nieces and nephews.
Sylvester and Wilma celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Feb 25, 2017.
He and his brothers grew up on a farm near the edge of Argyle, with his parents and grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins living, farming and working in and around the Green County area.
The brothers graduated from the Argyle High School, Sylvester, in the class of 1951. He went on to attend a two-year teaching course at the Normal School in Monroe, and continued to earn his degree from UW-Platteville.
The first class he taught was in a rural school near New Glarus. His students were young teenage boys, brought to school and picked up at the end of the day in a police van. Sylvester liked to tell of the conduct and ability of those boys.
His career was with the Madison Metropolitan School District. He was lead teacher for emotionally disturbed children and for children who were, at that time, classified as educable mentally retarded. The class moved from year to year to different schools in the district; at times, Badger, Longfellow, and Sunnyside. He concluded his teaching years at Van Hise Middle School teaching math and computer lab. He often asks people he meets where they went to school. He is probably hoping he will meet some of his children who are out in the world doing well.
Many summers Sylvester and Wilma spent traveling and learning. Together they took education courses from Edgewood College, Madison and from UW-Madison, courses which often met in interesting places, such as iSvat, Sweden. An education course met in London, England and in Cambridge, at Oxford University. Had a six-week UW course meeting in Lund Sweden and spent time traveling between Lund and Malmo. He belonged to the Madison Biblical Archeological Society and accompanied UW professor, Keith Scoville, on a six-week course which met in lsrael, excavating a tel at Lachish. Sylvester was digging and sifting on the side of the tel.
Lots of travel was personal. A Ford van was converted for travel and camping across America.
He and Wilma flew to Germany with the Friendship Force to spend a week with a family, they went up the fiords of Norway, found his cousins in Branbu; went to Grafton Underwood in England to find
Wilma's distant family members. They crossed the channel to France, looked for ancient cave paintings, and climbed the Eiffel Tower. Flew to Ecuador with the Wisconsin Education Assoc., traveling by fishing boats through the waters of the Pacific Ocean to the Galapagos lslands.
Sylvester acted as contractor/builder for their home in Verona, where they lived for more than 50 years. Although he kept that home, they usually spent some winter months in warmer parts of the country, Harrogate, Tennessee, Fayetteville and Jasper, Arkansas. Wisconsin was always considered home to return to.
His remains will be placed with his family at Woodlawn Cemetery, Argyle, Wisconsin.