MADISON-Roland Zeke "Rollie" Johnson, age 91, a WW II hero, died on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, at the VA Hospice. He was born on Oct. 8, 1922 in Bristol, WI.
He grew up on a farm near De Forest and his family moved to Madison where he graduated from Central High School. Rollie enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1942. He piloted 27 bombing missions in a B-24 over Germany. On Nov. 10, 1945, he married Ruth, the love of his life. Rollie became a Master Plumber and had his own business for 37 years.
He was active in the Plumbing Association, being a skilled negotiator. Rollie was inducted into Madison's Softball Hall of Fame as a pitcher with his pitch being clocked once at 93 mph.
He was a founding member of the Monona Fire Dept. and St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, and was a volunteer fireman for Blooming Grove. Rollie was President of the Eastside Businessmen's Club.
He knew more people that you could count and vividly told funny stories and jokes. Rollie built their first house with his own two hands on Gordon Ave. in Monona. He and Ruth retired to Bradenton, FL where they loved having parties, especially their Super bowl party. Rollie loved playing sports and being a sports spectator.
He is survived by his sister, June; children Pam Hicks (Bill), Peg (Jim) Riesen, Bill (Lisa) Johnson, and Julie (Chuck) Curran; 10 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren, and one on the way. Rollie was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ruth; his brothers, Lyle and Everett; and a niece, Cheryl.
A Memorial service will take place in the Main Chapel at ROSELAWN MEMORIAL PARK, 401 Femrite Dr., Monona, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 1, 2014.
Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com