John M. “Mel” Johnson, age 90, of Champaign, Illinois, peacefully passed away, Saturday, July 27, 2019 at his home.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 1 at the American Lutheran Church, 500 Church Drive, Rantoul.  Rev. Matt Bahnfleth will officiate.  Burial will follow at Eden Park Cemetery.

Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service also at American Lutheran Church.

Mel was born January 30, 1929 in rural Gifford, Illinois to Joe and Lena (Onnen) Johnson.  On July 7, 1950 he wedded the love of his life, Marjorie L. Bartell.  Mel and Marjorie recently celebrated sixty-nine years of marriage. 

Their union was blessed with two sons, John (Sheila) and Jim (Sherry), and two daughters, Joellyn (Dennis) Cox and Jennifer Sherman; all survive.  Also surviving are nine grandchildren, twenty great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild, five sisters, Delores Ehler; Mildred Roseman; Lucille Buck; Marjorie Eggers; Carol Carver as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, grandson James, and granddaughter Erica.

Mel enlisted in the United States Army in 1948, proudly serving his country in Texas, California, Korea, and Japan, advancing to the rank of Sergeant First Class.  He earned an honorable discharge and returned to Illinois in 1953.  Mel began his career in the restaurant business, starting five restaurants and a catering business of his own.  He briefly retired in the early 1970’s, however, it was not in Mel’s nature to remain idle.  Being a true entrepreneur, he, along with three partners, decided to create Chemical Maintenance, Inc., of Champaign, Illinois.  In 1979 Mel branched out to create his own company, Illini Sanitary Supply, which was in operation until 1993.  He then decided to devote his full attention to commercial real estate development.

He enjoyed working and only retired a few weeks prior to his passing.  He enjoyed reading business journals, keeping abreast of current politics, and spending time with his wife and grandchildren.

The Johnson family would like to extend special thanks to Mel’s compassionate caregiver and the hospice staff of Harbor Light.

Memorials may be made to the American Lutheran Church, Rantoul or the Eden Park Cemetery, Rantoul.

Service arrangements have been entrusted to Lux Memorial Chapel, Rantoul.