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Kent David Johnson

January 7, 1937 May 14, 2021
Kent David Johnson
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Obituary for Kent David Johnson

Kent Johnson passed away on May 14, 2021, at the age of 84 and will be dearly missed by all who knew him. Beloved husband of Elizabeth (Couyoumjian). Dear brother of Sharon (Paul) Burstein. Loving father of Craig (Margaret) Johnson, Darin (Denise) Johnson, Julie Winand and Kari (James) Skubik. Cherished grandfather of Grace, Lily, Isabella, Nicholas, Alexander, Mila, Josephine, Jake, Fiona and Luke.

Kent met Liz on a surreptitious blind date to the circus arranged by two of their mutual friends. It was a match made in heaven for this tall, gangly, blond-haired, blue-eyed Swede and beautiful, dark-eyed Armenian girl… and Liz’s family adopted him right from start, quite literally. Early in the relationship, he became ill one night at her parents’ house and they took him in and nursed him back to health for nearly a week. Kent and Liz married in 1964 at St. John’s Armenian Church, where he became an active member and was likely the first Swede to serve on the Parish Council.

Kent was born in Muskegon on January 7, 1937 to Einar and Virginia (Larson). Unfortunately, his father passed when Kent was just 14 years old, leaving him the man of the house with his mother and four-year-old sister Sharon. He worked hard during the subsequent years to help support his family while finishing high school, and it was during this period he took a job as a draftsman at a local architecture firm.

Kent graduated with honors from the University of Michigan College of Architecture in 1960 and later won a design competition that sent him on a six-month study tour of Europe. Upon his return he continued working with architect Glen Paulsen, one of his instructors at U of M. This was the start of an impressive design career spanning five decades, during which he went on to become the president of TMP Associates. Kent’s architectural legacy includes work on many notable buildings around Detroit, throughout the state and across the country:
• University of Michigan Cancer and Geriatrics Center, Taubman Ambulatory Care Center and the Maternal and Child Health Care Center
• Award-winning projects such as the Clinton-Macomb Main Library, Wayne State University’s Shapero Hall of Pharmacy, Luther West Science Center at Northern Michigan University, Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, the Weisberg Cancer Center and Masco’s Headquarters Building
• Northern Michigan University Superior Dome – the largest wooden dome structure in the world
• Chrysler Pavilion at the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans

Beyond architecture, Kent’s other lifelong interests included a love of trains. He was first given a Lionel train set as a child and would often speak of his memories taking the train to visit relatives in Chicago. In later adult years he received an N-scale train set as a Christmas gift, which sparked his pursuit as an avid model railroader. Applying his architect’s modeling skills, Kent created an astounding 30’x50’ train layout in his basement that was never quite finished as plans kept expanding in scope.

Kent was also a fisherman, likely stemming from his days spent in Newaygo at the cabin he and his father built. He loved smelt dipping in Port Huron, bass fishing on inland lakes, charter fishing on the big lakes and journeying to the remote waters of northern Canada. In later years, Kent spent long summers fishing at his cottage up north.

We will miss Kent. But we take solace in the thought that he is once again reunited with his father who he lost so long ago. And, that in heaven the buildings are now a bit more elegant, the model train layouts that much more detailed and the fish should be worried.

Visitation will be held from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Monday May 24 at St. John’s Armenian Church. Funeral service at 1:30 p.m. Please note that attendance is limited due to COVID restrictions and masks are required. The service will also be livestreamed at https://us05web.zoom.us/j/81168456745?pwd=T2lJbytydkJmbWg5S0prRHM3Tm5Zdz09.

Burial at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, MI.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to St. John’s Armenian Church or the Benzie Conservation District (benziecd.org), an organization dedicated to the preservation of natural resources in Benzie County where Kent spent many summers.

To send flowers or plant a tree in memory of Kent David Johnson, visit the Tribute Store.

Previous Events

Visitation

Monday

24

May

12:30 PM 5/24/2021 12:30:00 PM - 1:30 PM 5/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
St. John's Armenian Church

22001 Northwestern Highway
Southfield, MI 48075

St. John's Armenian Church
22001 Northwestern Highway Southfield 48075 MI
United States

Service

Monday

24

May

1:30 PM 5/24/2021 1:30:00 PM - 2:15 PM 5/24/2021 2:15:00 PM
St. John's Armenian Church

22001 Northwestern Highway
Southfield, MI 48075

Burial Service to follow at Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit.

St. John's Armenian Church
22001 Northwestern Highway Southfield 48075 MI
United States
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