Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Clifford Mark Johns

WAKEFIELD, Mich. - Clifford Mark Johns, 67, of Wakefield, died on Monday, May 1, 2023, in Bessemer.

Mark was born to Kenneth and Bertha (Mikkola) Johns in Wakefield, on Dec. 13, 1955. He graduated from Wakefield High School in 1974, where he was very active in track and field. Mark earned numerous records for the Wakefield Cardinals and is still the current 880-yard run record holder. He attended Northern Michigan University and Gogebic Community College, earning a degree in accounting before he embarked on a career path that led him to employment as varied as his numerous interests: at Indianhead Mountain Ski Resort; the U.S. Forest Service; the Department of Agriculture, for which he fought wildfires out West; the U.S. Postal Service; Michigan Department of Corrections, among other endeavors. Colleagues recount that he never missed a day of work.

As a skilled outdoorsman, Mark found peace and enjoyment running a trap line and working in his garden. He was the kind of skilled and meticulous gardener that never let a weed get past him, and was pleased to regularly enter his produce in the Gogebic County Fair, winning several ribbons. He enjoyed life's simple pleasures: bird watching, making firewood to heat his home, and keeping an eye on the local wildlife.

He found joy in conversations with friends he bumped into around town and had a wry sense of humor. He was known by many for his quiet acts of generosity: proactively clearing off snow-covered vehicles, voluntarily snow blowing neighborhood driveways, and sharing the abundance of his garden with friends and colleagues. Mark was an avid reader and frequent patron of the Wakefield Public Library.

In 2019, Mark was diagnosed with melanoma. He mustered up all of his sisu to fight the disease for more than four years before succumbing and finding his final peace.

Mark was married twice. He is survived by his daughter, Amber Johns (Aaron Kessman), and two grandchildren, Peaches and Henry Kessman, all of Petersham, Massachusetts; a brother, Dale, Kapolei, Hawaii; two sisters, Leah Nikula (Ken), Ironwood, and Heidi Johns (Christian Schaefer), Cincinnati, Ohio; his sister-in-law, Diana Johns, Dearborn, Michigan; two aunts, Emily Johns and Rosemary Farrington; a niece and three nephews; and several cousins.

Mark was predeceased by his parents; and a brother, Stanley, on Dec. 9, 2020.

A graveside service will be held on Thursday, Aug. 3, at 11 a.m., at the Lakeside Cemetery in Wakefield. His sister, the Rev. Heidi Johns, will officiate. Interment will follow.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorial contributions in memory of Mark to the Wakefield Public Library, 401 Hancock St., Wakefield, MI 49968.

Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, is assisting the family with arrangements. To send online condolences or to share a memory, please go to

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