Sherril Ray Johnson

Friday, November 5, 2021

Sherril Ray Johnson, 72, Gladstone, MO, passed away at Kansas University Hospital on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. He found the answer of peace and comfort after a two-month struggle with multiple medical complications.

The Nevada, Missouri City Hospital is where Sherril “Big S” Johnson was born to Raymond Lee and Florence Fay Johnson on November 2, 1949. They both preceded him in death. He is survived by one daughter Monica Michelle Johnson, Bar Harbor, ME. Sherril has two brothers and one sister: Terry Lee (Margaret) Johnson, Firestone, CO; Mikki Ann Johnson, Nevada, MO; and Charles Earl (June) Johnson, Gladstone, MO. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and nephews.

Sherril began his education in the one-room Hackberry School, perched on the hill, overlooking Hackberry Creek. One of his favorite stories of those days was sledding down the hillside, under the barbed-wire fence, ripping the backside out of his jeans. He survived the country school and made the move to Nevada High School, Nevada, MO where he fit right in with the math and science nerds. He was not an athlete, but somehow, he made the track team a couple of years. He was a short jumper. Graduation found him on his way to The School of Mines, University of Missouri - Rolla. It was here he joined a fraternity and learned how to drink beer. He must have done something right, because he left the university with a diploma.

Big S was a computer whiz. His final job title was mainframe specialist. He worked for many major companies including State of Missouri, Westinghouse, Walmart, American Express, and IBM. Sherril had lived in Jefferson City, MO, Northwest Arkansas, and over 20 years in Dallas, TX before moving to Gladstone, MO a few years ago, where he worked from home.

He coached his daughter Monica’s winning soccer team for many years. His coaching philosophy was, “run over ‘em and they’ll back off next time.” That’s good advice for many of life’s situations.

Sherril liked to fish. He got his start on Hackberry Creek with a cane pole, bobber, and unwilling worm. While in Texas he sported a fancy bass boat on Lake Ray Roberts. But some of his favorite memories were trips to Northwest Ontario with family and friends for flyouts to lakes full of walleye and northern pike. He could also be found ice fishing on the boundary waters of Rainy Lake and in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. He had enough fishing gear to outfit the Kansas City metropolitan area; Sherril was his own Bass Pro Shop.

Big S was also known as “Unk” by the early nieces and nephews. His nephew Corey started calling him Big S on one of the early trips to Canada and it stuck. Having to live with a girl’s name must have been difficult. His best friend Roger, rest his soul, always called him Rhino.

Sherril, Unk, Big S was always a magnet to children. They fled to his side right before they knew they were about to get in trouble. He never tried too hard to be their friend, that’s why they liked him so much. After a huge lunch Big S prepared to settle in for a snooze on the couch at his brother’s house. He reached down to disconnect his prosthetic leg and laid over on the sofa, leaving his leg behind. His three-year-old great niece Kennedy was watching and was amazed. She said, “Take the other one off!”

He loved music, especially the blues, Chicago style. The 60s and early 70s found their place as well. Not only did he like the sound, he always had the most current audio listening devices to enjoy it. Later in life he ventured into more modern genres, always looking for a new, great artist to share with others. When not listening, he was watching Sci-Fi; a believer of the future and a huge fan of Doctor Who.

One of his favorite adventures was Superbowl 40. He won an all-expense paid trip to the game, pre-game parties, post-game parties, travel, and hotel for two. His brother Charlie was the second. The two partied with Tony Gonzales and Aretha Franklin and they were entertained by Lionel Richey. Loud music played at The Cheetah Club and a great time was had by both.

It takes many words to describe Sherril. A few of the better ones are kind, generous, witty, intelligent, and smart ass. He was a good person, a great example, and one who always wondered why. Those that knew him are better as a result; those that didn’t are just SOL.

Don’t send any flowers because he requested no service. If you just can’t help yourself and want to spend some money, donate to the Nevada High School Foundation, 811 West Hickory, Nevada MO, 64772 and help further a graduate’s education.

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