Arlys Maria Bourdage

Arlys Maria Bourdage, age 73, passed away on Thursday, October 12, 2023, at her home.  She was born in Duluth, MN in 1950, the daughter of Norman R. and Hattie (Carlson) Bourdage.  She and Richard A. Johnson were united in marriage in Merrill on June 30, 1979.  After graduating from high school in Two Harbors, MN, and graduating from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN, with a degree in Health Information Management, Arlys was employed for seven years at Appleton Memorial Hospital in Appleton, WI, before joining Aspirus Merrill Hospital (formerly Holy Cross Hospital, Ministry and Ascension Good Samaritan Hospital) as Director of Medical Records, a position she held until 2000.  She then transitioned to a medical coder position until her full retirement in 2016.

Arlys’ second life was bowling, not just the sport of it (carrying a 180+ average for more than 20 years), but the administrative side.  She served as the Merrill Area USBC Association Manager (previously called Secretary – Treasurer) from 1995 through current, Youth Association manager from 2006-2018.  She also served as the Merrill 600 Club Secretary – Treasurer from 2004 to present.  She was a director on the Merrill Bowling Hall of Fame Board, as well as an inductee into that Hall in 2000.  Arlys also served as the Secretary – Treasurer/Tournament Manager for the Wisconsin State 600 Bowling Club from 2004-2022.  She had been an officer of bowling leagues throughout the years, served as a Merrill delegate to the WI State USBC many years, was a member of the Wisconsin Bowling Writers’ Club, and served on one of the State Association committees.  In recognition of her bowling service and dedication to the sport, Arlys was honored in 2014 as a “Women of Distinction” by the WI State Women’s Bowling Association.

Arlys also enjoyed golfing, kayaking, traveling (snow-birding to parts of the south for many years), reading and playing the slots.  She was an active member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Community in Merrill, serving as sacristan and lector.

Survivors include her husband, Richard Johnson; twin daughters, Alycia Rae Johnson, LaCrosse, WI, and Lauren Renee (Ryan) Whalen, Cottage Grove, WI; granddaughter, Haddie Rae Whalen and step-granddaughter, Taylor Whalen.  She is further survived by brothers; Normand (Geri), Two Harbors, MN, Armand (Diane), Vancouver, VA, and Roland (Sharon), Cloquet, MN, and sister-in-law; Sharon Bourdage, Delmont, PA.  Several nieces, nephews and cousins also survive.  She is preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, brother; Raymond Bourdage and nephew; Joseph Bourdage.

A Mass of Christian Burial for Arlys will be held on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, at 11:30am, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Merrill.  Father Jim Horath will officiate.  Visitation will be held on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, from 9am until 11am, at Waid Funeral Home.  Inurnment will take place at a later date in Two Harbors, MN.

For those unable to attend, the Mass will be recorded and available for future viewing.  It can be found under her obituary on the funeral home website.

Please consider memorials in Arlys’ name to: Merrill Area USBC Blanche Krueger Youth Scholarship; St Francis Xavier Catholic Community; Aspirus Merrill Hospital Volunteers; Aspirus Wausau Regional Cancer Center.

Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements.  Online condolences are encouraged and may be made at

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