Meryl Johnson

Meryl Anne "Oney" Johnson

1931 - 2023

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Obituary of Meryl Anne Johnson

Meryl Anne “Oney” Johnson, longtime resident of Coralville, passed away on Friday, October 13, 2023, at home.  She was 92.


Oney was born September 29, 1931, in Iowa City, the middle daughter of Merrell and Edna (Harding) Johnson.  She graduated from Iowa City High School in 1949, and attended the University of Iowa for several years, majoring in music and studying piano.  She then accepted an opportunity to study radiology, also at the University, where she completed her certification as a radiology technician.  She worked as a technician until her marriage to John (Jack) Rafferty in 1952 (later divorced).  They had two sons, Wayne and Michael.  She continued her career later working as an Administrator at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri.  After returning to Iowa City, she was employed by the University at the Museum of Art, then later at the Dept. of Asian Languages and Literature, where she formed many friendships, before retiring in 1995.


Besides having a lifelong love of music, Oney was also a highly talented artist, especially enjoying sketching and drawing with charcoal or pencil.  But one of her best skills was certainly the canning of the many jams and jellies she submitted to the Iowa State Fair for annual competition.  For 31 years, she brought home a total of 85 State Fair ribbons, many of them blue ribbons and overall awards.  (Her favorite, by far, was her pear-pineapple jam.)


She also loved wildlife and animals, especially her beloved cats.  Oney enjoyed traveling, and over the years travelled extensively throughout the Midwest, the Southwest, Hawaii and many trips to both coasts to visit both sons, her friends and relatives.  She enjoyed cheering on the Hawkeyes, was an avid reader, loved watching tennis, and especially appreciated getting together with her favorite “Cousins” group for monthly lunches.  Oney was an upbeat, “half-full” individual, always ready to listen and be supportive, ready for an adventure, with an infectious sense of humor and great fun to be with.


Oney was preceded in death by her parents, sisters, Charlotte (Johnson) Wohlenberg and Betty Johnson; son, Wayne Rafferty; and nephew, David Wohlenberg.


She is survived by her son, Mike Rafferty of Coralville; niece, Rebecca (Kent) Pearson; grand-niece, Melissa (Gabe) Isbell; their children Forest, Willow, Asher and Olive, and grand-niece, Shannon (Patrick) Cutsforth, in addition to many cousins and other relatives.


Services will be held on 2:00 PM, Saturday, October 28, at First Christian Church, 900 Lincolnshire Place, Coralville, Iowa.  A time for fellowship will immediately follow the service.


Condolences may be sent through the funeral home website at  In lieu of flowers, donations may also be made to the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation, Iowa City, at




Memorial Service

2:00 pm
Saturday, October 28, 2023
First Christian Church
900 Lincolnshire Place
Coralville, Iowa, United States