Chad Ryan Johnson, 32, of Elburn, now rests in his faith and the arms of his Savior after passing away unexpectedly at home, leaving this Earth too soon on Monday, Oct. 24, 2011.
He was born Nov. 17, 1978, in Oak Park, Ill., the son of Ken Johnson and Vicki (Johnson) Linden.
Chad grew up in Elburn and attended local schools, splitting his education between the Fox Valley Lutheran Academy and Kaneland High School. During his tenure, he made a name for himself on the Kaneland varsity baseball team. Chad racked up hundreds of “K’s,” beginning with pitching a no-hitter when he was only 12.
Following his graduation in 1997, Chad went on to attend Waubonsee Community College for a time before transferring to Northern Illinois University, where he studied Criminology.
He was a faithful and active member of Grace Lutheran Church, where he was a member of the Vision Team as well as part of a music team, planning out selections for the weekly services. He also showed his competitive side as a member of the church softball and bowling teams.
Chad loved the outdoors, no matter the season, and often spent time making sure all the local birds, squirrels and more were fed by filling various feeders throughout the year. He was an avid fisherman, and the best fishing partner you could find. Chad took part in 25 years of Muskie tournaments, but dedicated his time and his heart to Squirrel Lake in Minocqua, Wis.
Even when he had little to share, Chad supported many organizations, including the Blind Skiing Association, Special Olympics, Easter Seals and several others. When it came to supporting his favorite sports teams, the Green Bay Packers, the Mighty Ducks, the White Sox and NASCAR, especially Dale Earnhardt Sr., you could find no bigger fan. You could find no better son brother or friend either.
Although he was large in stature, his heart was even bigger, and he easily wore it on his sleeve, ready to care and to protect those in need. Chad was also the king of giving. Whether it was gifts at Christmas, cards at birthdays or special attention during a difficult time, no one cared more than Chad.
He is survived by his parents, Ken (Gina) Johnson and Vicki (Larry) Linden; one brother, Greg (Kate) Johnson; five step-brothers and sisters, Nicki Graham, Bob Graham, Michael (Kayla) Linden, Mathew (Monica) Linden and Michele (Kyle) Breyne; several aunts, uncles, cousins, and his faithful four-legged feline friends, Carla, L.B. and Mischief, will all miss him dearly.
He is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Melvin and Erma Johnson; and his maternal grandparents, Harry and Violet Johnson.
Visitation was held Friday, Oct. 28, 2011, at Grace Lutheran Church in Lily Lake.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit Grace Lutheran Church and other favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Chad Johnson Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or online at conleycare.com. His giving did not end with his death, but gave life to others through Gift of Hope, an organ transplant and donation organization.