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Lansing auto shop raffles off toolbox to benefit widow of deceased mechanic

$6,500 raised in support of Danylle Johnson and the American Cancer Society

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (February 27, 2021) – In a small ceremony at Fine Tune Auto Service in Lansing on Friday afternoon, Danylle Johnson reached into a bag and picked the next owner of her husband’s lime-green toolbox. The event, which is available to watch on the auto shop’s Facebook page, was the result of a months-long campaign to sell raffle tickets to offset the remaining medical and funeral costs Johnson is facing after her husband passed away last April.

Using tools to help

Jay Johnson
Jay and Danylle were married in February of last year. (Photo from Fine Tune Auto website)

Jay Johnson, who passed after a multi-year battle with cancer, amassed a large collection of tools over his years as a mechanic. His widow, Danylle, said, “He said before, when they [the doctors] told us a year ago, before he passed away, that there was nothing they could do, he said ‘Auction off my toolbox. Make sure you and my daughter are taken care of.'”

Pedro de la Torre, who is a vendor that works regularly with Fine Tune Auto Service and knew Jay Johnson, won the raffle, and in a phone call shortly after the drawing expressed his thanks.

Shortly after Brennan hired Jay Johnson a few years ago, Johnson mentioned his then fiancée Danylle had customer service skills and was looking for a new opportunity. Danylle is currently the service manager for the auto shop, and married Johnson in February of this year.

fine tune auto
Jay Johnson (left) with his wife Danylle. Jay passed away in April of last year. More photos of the couple can be seen here. (Photo from Fine Tune Auto website)

Around 600 raffle tickets were sold, totaling about $6,500—a sum that will go primarily to Danylle, though 5% will go to the American Cancer Society. The initial drawing was delayed from December to allow more people to purchase tickets.

Sad to see it go

When purchased new, Jay’s toolbox alone was worth $17,000, according to the Fine Tune Auto Service webpage explaining the raffle. Fine Tine Auto Service owner Jason Brennan said the cost of the toolbox and tools, when purchased new, would likely have been valued around $50,000.

Johnson’s Snap-on toolbox sold new for $17,000. (Photo from Fine Tune Auto website)

Though Danylle Johnson has no use for thousands of dollars worth of tools, she said the sentimental value of something that her husband valued so much makes it hard to let go. She did, however, keep a small cart that matched Jay’s toolbox.

“He should be happy,” she said.

Fine Tune Auto Service is located at 17546 Chicago Avenue, Lansing, IL.


Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.