Irma Iris Tanner Johnson (Iris) went to be with the Lord on March 12, 2021 in Viera, Florida. She was 87 years old.
Iris was born in Crossnore, North Carolina to Mary Louise and James Thomas Tanner on December 1, 1933 and grew up nearby in Newland, N.C. She attended college at Appalachian State University, where she met her future husband, L.D. Johnson. They were married in Gaffney, South Carolina on October 6, 1956 on their way to Florida and a lifetime of adventures together which only ended when her husband of 55 years passed away in 2011.
They settled first in Jacksonville where both were teachers and where their two sons, Lester Benjamin (Ben) and James Michael (Mike) were born. They quickly adapted to the Florida lifestyle, enjoying boating and fishing whenever they could. In 1964 they experienced Hurricane Dora, their first of many hurricanes to come. Like a true Floridian, Iris proudly experienced 32 more with a plaque on her wall to prove it.
They relocated to Gainesville, FL in 1967 where L.D. taught at the University of Florida and Iris raised two very “energetic” boys. During that time one of the duties L.D. had was photographing the University of Florida football games and their children got to experience the game from the photo booth above the rest of the stands.
They relocated to Brevard County in 1968, residing temporarily in Eau Gallie then to Rockledge, where they found the home they would live in for the balance of their lives. L.D. was employed at Brevard Junior College (becoming Brevard Community College and now Eastern Florida State College). Iris split her time between working as a therapist/counselor and being a homemaker.
They loved to fish and hunt and took advantage of all Florida had to offer. At one time Iris held the record for the largest Cobia caught off the Juno Beach Pier, at 45 1/2 lb. They had a small boat for many years, and their two sons grew to love the adventures as much as their parents. They would spend countless hours exploring the small islands along the Intracoastal Waterway and the Banana River. They often went fishing and stayed up many nights catching shrimp under the Banana River Causeway. They would travel to South Florida and ventured to the Keys, Sanibel Island, Lake Okeechobee and other locations whenever they could get away. They also explored much of Western North Carolina where they showed their sons the beauty of that part of the country.
Through all of her life, Iris was a devoted mother first and foremost. She showed her children how to experience life, instead of just live it. She always wanted them to understand the only limitations they had were those they placed on themselves.
Iris’s friendships were strong and long lasting. She talked fondly about her adventures with “her girls” who she became friends with during her last job with Rite-Aid, until she retired.
Iris is survived by her two sons, Ben Johnson (Annette) of San Diego, CA, Mike Johnson (Kim) of Viera, FL, two grandchildren: Alyssa and Cameron Johnson of San Diego, CA, three step-grandchildren, Marquee and Teara Cincotta of Bradenton, FL and Katherine Mullin of San Diego, CA.
Iris is preceded in death by her husband, L.D., mother, father, brother and great granddaughter.
Funeral services will be conducted Sunday, March 28 at Atlantic Mortuary in Rockledge, FL at 4:00pm. Anyone who knew Iris knows she was not a “formal” person, so dress code will be “resort casual”. Per Iris’s request her remains as well as those of her late husband L.D. will be scattered in the ocean at a private event at a later date.
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