Kathryn Alice (Wills) Johnson, 82, of Mansfield, Ohio, passed away Thursday, January 21, 2021, after an extended illness.
Kathryn “Kathy” was born on May 30, 1938, in Mansfield to Russell and Kathryn (Hammond) Wills. Kathy was a loving mother and grandmother, and enjoyed spending time with her family. From cookouts to bingo, an occasional casino run, she most enjoyed helping others when they found themselves in a time of crisis. She was a lifetime member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 3494. It has been many years since she last visited the club, but usually would stop in for a Pepsi and to see old friends.
Kathy was an icon to the community as well. She worked for many years at the Mansfield Restaurant and Mr. T’s Coffee Shop. She provided many Mansfielders with coffee and comfort food during the bar rush after they had a little too much to drink. Many referred to her as “Grouch” or “Mom” when she would scold them, but many loved her for keeping them straight.
In 1964, she married James Johnson and with his two sons, her two daughters, they welcomed another son and daughter to complete the family. At 38, she became an unexpected widow with the passing of her husband, James. With three children ages 14, 10, and 8 still at home, she devoted her life to finish raising them on her own.
In 1986 with all the kids grown, she became adventurous and at the age of 48, she moved west to Arizona and began working at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, as a sheriff’s cook where she supervised working inmates in the nation’s 5th largest jail system.
Finally in 1999, she decided to retire and return to Mansfield where she remained in her final years. Occasionally she picked up a shift at Mr. T’s Coffee Shop just to see the people and gab with old friends.
She enjoyed being sassy with just about everyone she came in contact with, but really loved to pick playfully at people just to get a rise out of them and then snicker when she got their goat.
She is survived by three daughters, Debra (Dave) Cunningham of Gas City, Indiana, Lisa Wills of Mansfield, Tina (Alan) Watts of Mansfield; one son, Paul Johnson of Sandusky; brother, Dean (Joyce) Wills Sr. of Mansfield; nephews, Dean (Cheryl) Wills Jr. of Mansfield and Anthony (Deb) Walker of Mansfield; niece, Tammy Wills of Columbus; seven grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
In addition to her parents, Kathy was preceded in death by her husband James; brother, Russell Wills; sister, Shirley Walker; grandson, Drew King; and granddaughter, Heather Johnson.
Calling hours will be from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 12, 2021 at Werner Gompf Funeral Services, ltd, 1106 Park Ave. East, Mansfield. Memorial services will follow at 5:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be at Mansfield Cemetery.
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