Music 04


Margaret Elizabeth (Briegel) Johnson

July 4, 1921 ~ July 12, 2018 (age 97)

Margaret Elizabeth (Briegel) Johnson of Grand Rapids, passed away on July 12, 2018, after a full life of 97 years.  She was born in Spring Lake, Michigan, on July 4, 1921, to John and Mina (Voss) Briegel.  After graduating from Grand Haven High School in 1939, she attended the Hackley Hospital School of Nursing, and earned her Registered Nursing (RN) degree.  On October 29, 1948, she became the wife of G. Stewart (“Stew”) Johnson, a former classmate in the Grand Haven schools.  Two years after their wedding, they embarked on their first of many traveling adventures: to the San Fernando Valley in southern California where Stew worked for Hughes Aircraft Company for two years, followed by three years with Hughes in Tucson, Arizona.


With a new baby (Nancy, born in Tucson) and desiring to return to West Michigan, they moved to Kalamazoo, where Stew was employed as a professor at Western Michigan University and Margaret was active in WMU’s Faculty Dames.  A second daughter, Marilyn, was born in Kalamazoo, where they lived for 30 years until Stew’s retirement in 1984.  Having both been raised in and always enjoying the Grand Haven area, they then moved “back to their roots” in Spring Lake.  They loved living on the water at Lloyd’s Bayou, walking on the pier, and especially listening to the Wednesday night Big Band concerts at Grand Haven’s Waterfront Stadium.  In 2002, Margaret and Stew moved to Breton Woods Independent Living Center in Grand Rapids.


Throughout her life, Margaret loved all types of music, was an accomplished pianist, and enjoyed singing in church choirs wherever they lived.  She and Stewart traveled a great deal, both in the U.S. and internationally, with Hawaii being a favorite and frequent destination.  She was predeceased by Stewart in August 2017, after nearly 69 years of marriage.  Margaret will be remembered as a very kind and loving person, an excellent wife, mother and grandmother (and quite thrilled about being a great-grandmother), and an excellent chocolate chip cookie-baker.  Despite major health challenges, she remained steadfast in her Christian faith throughout her life. 


She will be lovingly missed by her two daughters: Dr. Nancy Levenburg and Marilyn (Dave) Van Laan; and grandchildren, Adam (Mary) Levenburg, Sarah Levenburg, Julie (Kurt) Goldsby (and great-grand-daughter Emma Goldsby), and Michael (Jamie) Van Laan.  She is also survived by her sister, Janet Briegel; sister-in-law, Betty Johnson; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.


The Funeral Service for Margaret will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at First Presbyterian Church, 508 Franklin Avenue in Grand Haven. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church.  Memorial contributions may be given to the Community Artist Series C/O First Presbyterian Church in Grand Haven.

Donations may be made to:

Community Artist Series C/O First Presbyterian Church
508 Franklin Ave., Grand Haven MI 49417
Tel: 1-616-842-6760

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