Cover photo for Darryl Dean Johnson's Obituary
Darryl Dean Johnson Profile Photo

Darryl Dean Johnson

June 23, 1960 — December 10, 2019

Darryl Dean Johnson

Darryl Dean Johnson was born on June 23, 1960 to Virginia and Kemp Johnson Sr. in

Des Moines, IA. He, along with his four siblings, grew up on 12th Street where he

continued to live with his mother for 45 years.

Dean was a gifted athlete in both baseball and basketball. But it was his basketball

talents that earned him respect in his neighborhood and scholarships to play

collegiately. By the age of 12, Dean became a local legend for his poster style dunks he

showcased to win the first slam dunk contest held at Good Park in 1972. He continued

to excel in basketball at Des Moines Technical High School where he graduated in


After graduating from Tech, he played basketball at Indian Hills Community College

where he earned an Associate of Arts. He then attended the University of Arkansas

Pine Bluff, playing both basketball and baseball and graduating in 1984 with a Bachelor

of Science in Health and Exercise Science.

Dean returned to Des Moines after college and spent his career as a probations and

corrections officer for nearly 20 years. At the same time, he had a long career as an

assistant varsity basketball coach at Dowling Catholic High School and North High

School. At North, he was known as "Coach J". Over the years he equipped many young

men with the tools to play the sport, but more importantly, he mentored them and

offered them wisdom to succeed in life. Dean didnt have children, but he was a father

to many and he loved all of his "boys" as his own.

Dean was a loving son, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend. He cared deeply for people,

but no one more so than his mother, Virginia. He was her baby and it was rare to see

one without the other being close by. They lived together, traveled together, and

genuinely enjoyed each others company. Dean was playful and witty. At family

gatherings he often kept everyone entertained from his jokes and by the amount of food

he could put away in one sitting.

In his spare time, he enjoyed watching sports, cooking, and traveling. He was a skilled

landscaperhis admirers always became clients. At one time, he maintained the lawns

of nearly an entire neighborhood in Clive. He always had his nose in a book, but

preferred ones written by James Patterson, his favorite author.

Dean passed away on Tuesday, October 10, 2019 at the age of 59.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Kemp Johnson Sr. and Virginia Johnson; his

brother, Kenneth Johnson; and his nephew, Jerome Johnson-Reid.

Left to cherish his memories are his siblings, Delores Lankford, Kemp Johnson Jr.,

(Terri), Kimberly Jones (Erwin Sr.); his nieces and nephews, Alonzo Smith (Kia), Larissa

Reid, Traci Gross (Daniel), Andrea, Erin, and Erwin "Drew" Jones II, Simone Williams;

Great nieces and nephews, Alonzo, Amya, and Amari Smith, Caden Williams, Jamari

Clarkson, Isaiah and Harper Gross, and a host of other relatives and friends. Visitation

Friday, December 20, 2019

11:00am - 1:00pm

Glendale Cemetery

Funeral Service

Friday, December 20, 2019

Starts at 1:00pm

True Bible Baptist Church

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Darryl Dean Johnson, please visit our flower store.


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