My wonderful wife, Ona Claudia Kotula Johnson, passed away on Sunday July 4, 2021. Over one hundred dear friends joined us for a celebration of her life yesterday, July 9th. Below is the text of the tribute to Ona I offered.
Thank you all for coming to support us, Ona's family: myself, Carly and Wes, Ona's sister Lillian and her husband Harry, their daughters, our nieces, Adele and Emily and their families. Some of you knew Ona through hearing me talk about her, or through working with her, or through parties and dinners filled with laughter. Some, like the Kraynaks, have known her for longer than I have. And some like Brenda for her whole life. So, you all know there are a million stories I could tell about her. Some are sad, but most are happy and a lot of them are downright hilarious. Ona spent her career improving the lives of her patients, whether it was to help them hear better, speak better, or enjoy eating again. So, given the hundreds of her patients she helped, the way she was taken from us is really the ultimate irony. Ona came into my life when she told Judy she wanted a "nice man" to take her to dinner for her birthday. Judy told Marty, who didn't know any nice men, so he asked me. When she ordered a bourbon and diet Coke, I knew she was the one for me. I wasn't about to let her get away, even when she told me in June not to call her again until October. I called her the next day, and the rest is history. Our 33 years together were filled with travels to many exciting and exotic places as well as quiet nights at home in front of the fireplace. Our years were filled with the joy of having our daughter Meg in our lives, however briefly, and the sorrow of losing her. But mostly the ongoing joy and love of Carly and Wes. I know that, like me, she was very proud of you two. Ona's was a life well-lived and I'll always be grateful for the time we had together.