Mr. Dean Thomas "Tom" Johnson

  • Born: October 23, 1943
  • Died: July 13, 2019
  • Location: Dowling, Michigan

Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care

105 Capital Ave NE
Battle Creek, MI 49017

Tel. (269) 962-5527

Tribute & Message From The Family

Dean Thomas "Tom" Johnson, 75, of Dowling, MI passed away peacefully on Saturday morning, July 13th, 2019 at the Glenn Arbor Hospice Residence. He was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather, and entertained those who knew him with his unique humor.

Tom was born in Milwaukee, WI, October 23, 1943, the son of William and Beatrice Johnson. After graduating from Nicolet High School in Fox Point, WI, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in anthropology. Through the ROTC program, he became a commissioned officer in the US Air Force. Tom met his loving wife, Carol, while in college; they later married, April 20, 1968, at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, CA. After his military service, Tom earned his BFA in art from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Tom worked as the curator of exhibits at The Kingman Museum of Natural History in Battle Creek, MI for nearly 30 years. Applying his artistic and scientific talents, he created unique, participatory exhibits which engaged the visitors and enhanced their understanding of science and natural environments.

Tom is survived by his wife, Carol Ann (Edwards) Johnson; his children, Heidi Johnson of Bowling Green, KY, and Eric (Katrina) Johnson of Sparta, NJ; two grandchildren, Laura and Rebecca Johnson; his sister and brother, Pamela Fiske of Boston, MA, and Rolfe Johnson of Milwaukee, WI; nieces, Kyla Fiske, Lauren Johnson, and Emily Edwards; nephews, Colin Fiske and William Johnson; and several cousins. Tom was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Richard Terry Johnson; and his nephew, Owen Fiske.

Tom created a landscape of native plants and flowers on their wooded lakeside property. He volunteered for the Battle Creek Art Center and the Pierce Cedar Creek Environmental Institute. He was also a volunteer event supervisor for Science Olympiad at the state level and enjoyed creating thought provoking crime scenarios for students to solve. Tom participated in a life drawing group, the Battle Creek Artist Guild, and Voices of Peace. He loved games, especially duplicate bridge. He played regularly with the Kalamazoo Duplicate Bridge group, earning enough points to be a Ruby Life Master with the American Contract Bridge League. He also participated in a writing group and was writing a book when he died.

Funeral services with full military honors to celebrate Tom's life will be held 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at the Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta. A luncheon for friends and family will follow at Pierce Cedar Creek Environmental Institute, 701 W Cloverdale Road, Hastings, MI 49058. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Pierce Cedar Creek Environmental Institute, 701 W. Cloverdale Rd., Hastings, MI 49058, the Barry County Animal Shelter, 540 Industrial Park Dr., Hastings, MI. 49058, or the American Cancer Society. Arrangements by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Battle Creek. Personal messages for the family may be placed at


Condolence & Memory Journal

Dear Family,

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of
you at this difficult time......

Deepest Sympathy,

ALZY Brown & Carmen Shepherd & Family

Posted by Alice Brown - Dowling, MI - Friend   August 05, 2019

Dear Carol:

I am so surprised and sad at Tom's passing. Please accept my condolences. I am happy now for all the memories we shared here with Heidi over the years. It just never occurred to me that they would end here. We had such fun and interesting times. Perhaps you and Heidi and I can get together when you are again in Bowling Green. I will be thinking of you. With love, Ann

Posted by Ann Goetting - bowling green, KY - Friend   July 30, 2019

I am deeply sorry for this untimely loss. Tom was a kind, interesting man. So sorry.

Posted by Joycexw Galen - Augusta, MI - Friend   July 23, 2019

Tom was a brilliant designer and creative artist. His work at the Kingman Museum helped to create what was recognized as one of the finest small museums' of its type in the country.

Bob Learner
Retired Director
The Kingman Museum of Natural History

Posted by Bob Learner - Battle Creek, MI - Friend   July 22, 2019

I am so sorry Carol...please accept my condolences

Posted by Trudy Daum - Bellevue, MI - Friend   July 22, 2019

We will miss Tom at The Joy of Writing meetings. He was a valued member of our group. Our condolences to Tom's family on your loss. Ann, Rick, Linda, Lon, Lou Ann, Carly, Anthony, Tom, Chaz, and Rebecca

Posted by Ann Murray - Schoolcraft, MI   July 22, 2019

Lost a dear friend with Tom's passing, a friendship that spanned 60 years. I am thankful I was able to speak with him one last time reminiscing old times. He was not perfect, but in life's balance, he was a Good Man. He will be missed.

Posted by Arthur Wiese - Junction City, WI - Friend   July 17, 2019

Tom was an excellent bridge player and I always looked forward to playing at his table. Everyone knew something funny would happen or he would tell a funny story or he would make a bid no one else in the world would make and then win the hand. His exuberance for bridge, nature, art and life was a joy to experience.
He will deeply missed.

Posted by Marian Gilbert - Kalamazoo, MI - Friend   July 17, 2019

For the ten years our sons progressed from cub to Boy Scouts, Tom was a constant companion in one adventure after another. From Philmont High adventure base in New Mexico to Our Isle Royale backpacking excursion, his sense of humor and willingness to participate in all activities was a true blessing. Tom loved the adventure of life and was truly a gentle man of peace.

Posted by Chuck Zamzow - Battle creek, MI - Friend   July 16, 2019

Tom was a good man and always pleasant company. I enjoyed spending time with Tom when our kids were in the boy scouts. I was blessed to have know him.

Marv Ratner

Posted by Marv Ratner - Battle Creek, MI - Friend   July 16, 2019