In 2012, the Johnson brothers in Lewistown decided to begin creating a giant copper ball made of copper wire stripped from old appliances and car parts to see how big they could make it. Cecil Johnson who owned Johnson’s Garage kept the ball at his garage and they would add to it whenever there was time and material to add to it.
The world record for a copper wire ball is 922 pounds and Cecil hoped to someday break the record.
In 2013, Cecil was diagnosed with lung cancer, but he and his colleagues continued to work on the ball until May 2013 when the garage had to close because of Cecil’s cancer. He passed away in November 2013.
The copper ball was then taken to Doug Parson’s garage, who was one of the workers at Johnsons garage until 2014 when it was moved to Cecil’s brother Marvin’s garage.
Marvin continued to work on the ball, stripping wires from appliances and parts in his backyard. However, in January 2019, Marvin was diagnosed with a tumor in his esophagus.
“Marvin continued to work on the ball during his chemotherapy and radiation treatments,” said his wife Naomi Johnson. “You can still find him in his truck collecting items and he and his grandson, Layton, in the yard tearing items apart.”
Marvin never complained and was always “junking,” according to Naomi. He last worked on the copper ball in October 2019. From that point on he was in and out of the hospital for other health issues. Marvin, 73, passed away Dec. 12, 2019, four days after his and Naomi’s 52nd wedding anniversary.
Naomi and their son, Chad decided to cash in the copper ball to fulfill the dream of Cecil and Marvin. The ball weighed 279 pounds and Naomi and her son decided to donate the proceeds.
“We had $800 to donate to Geisinger Lewistown Radiation Department in memory of two great brothers, Cecil and Marvin Johnson, to help people in Mifflin County,” Naomi said.
Naomi Johnson presents a check for the donation from the copper ball created by her late husband Marvin and his brother Cecil to Matt Kwiterovich, manager of radiation/oncology at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital.
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Courtesy Geisinger Lewistown Hospital.