When Bill Johannes retired as Marble Cliff's administrative assistant and clerk at the end of December, his colleagues comforted themselves with the knowledge that "he would still be just around the corner," Mayor Kent Studebaker said.
"Now we won't have that comfort," he said. "The village is minus one very special person."
Johannes, 72, died Feb. 7 in McDonough, Georgia, while traveling with his wife, Gail.
The loss was sudden, sad and shocking, Studebaker said.
"I know Bill was enjoying his second round of retirement and was looking forward to doing a lot of traveling," he said. "We were all looking forward to seeing the pictures he took during his travels and hearing his stories.
"He was a friend. He was a neighbor," Studebaker said. "He was such a kind and generous man."
Johannes established a fund to provide financial assistance to veterans attending Columbus State Community College and a grant program to honor an outstanding teacher at Grandview Heights High School.
"A main philosophy of his life was sharing his talents with folks and sharing what he could to help other people find or improve their talents," Studebaker said.
Village Fiscal Officer Cindy McKay said working with Johannes for so many years "was my joy."
"What a good and gracious person Bill was," she said. "He made working here so much fun."
"We had a little rubber orange barrel we'd trade back and forth as a kind of humorous 'employee of the month' award," McKay said. "It was sitting on his desk when he retired. It's still sitting there."
Johannes was a true public servant, McKay said.
"The thing about Bill was that he was so conservative with the public's money, but so generous with his own resources," she said.
Nothing gave him more satisfaction than helping village residents, McKay said.
"We're a small village and Bill lived right around the corner, but his car was a familiar sight," she said. "If he had to stop by the Grandview police department on an errand, he'd make sure to drive back all through the village to check up and make sure everything was going OK.
"I'd wonder why he'd be gone for two hours on what you'd think would be a 10-minute trip," McKay said. "It was because people would see him and flag him down about a tree limb or a crack in their sidewalk, and he'd get out of his car to look into it."
Johannes was born May 28, 1945, in Cincinnati. He and Gail, who married in 1968, moved to Marble Cliff in 1981, settling in a house that has been in Gail's family for more than a century.
He was a graduate of Columbus West High School and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from Ohio State University.
Johannes served in the U.S. Army from 1969-73, when he was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant.
He worked as a branch manager at City National Bank through its transition to Bank One and retired in 2000 as a vice president for Chase Bank. He began his second career with Marble Cliff the same year.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Gail Johannes (nee Tyler); daughter Emily Johannes (Paul Easterling); sister Barbara Clapham (nee Johannes); brother-in-law Scott Tyler; cousin Gary Smith; and other family members and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, at First Congregational Church, 444 E. Broad St., Columbus.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the funds established by Johannes.
For more information about the memorial service or to make donations, visit memorialwebsites.legacy.com/billjohannes.