Curtis G. Johnson, 92 of Sunburg, died Friday, December 27, 2019 at Bethesda Grand in Willmar. Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Thursday, January 2, 2019 at Hope Lutheran Church in Sunburg. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at the church and for one hour prior to the service. Burial will be in West Norway Lake Cemetery in Sunburg. Arrangements are with the Johnson Funeral Home in New London. www.hafh.org
Curtis Gordon Johnson was born at home to Carl Andrew Johnson and Theolina Johnson (Reigstad) on June 2nd, 1927, in Arctander Township, Minnesota. He was baptized at West Lake Lutheran Church and later confirmed at Kerkhoven Lutheran. Curtis attended School districts 14th North, 14th East and Kerkhoven School.
Growing up, Curtis worked alongside his dad farming. He admired how hard his dad worked, walking behind the horses all day, only occasionally riding on the sulky plow. His dad died when Curtis was 16 years old. At that time Curtis took over the farming. He earned money trapping skunks at $12/pelt and “stacking” bricks at the brick yards in Willmar earning 45 cents/hour. While he didn’t have a car, he did have money to buy gas for his brother Arnold’s car. He appreciated Arnold’s willingness to drive him to a cafe in Willmar where all the farm kids went to talk and “act smart”.
Curtis met Juliet Simonson roller skating in Spicer. They were united in marriage on June 10, 1949 at Nordland Lutheran Church. Curtis farmed and worked off the farm learning concrete construction from his uncle, Clarence Reigstad. He helped construct many public buildings, Willmar Poultry, Willmar Senior high school, etc. and private homes throughout Minnesota. Several future cement contractors benefited from watching and working with Curtis, including his Son and now Grandson’s Double-J. He retired from cement work when he was over 80. He enjoyed farming, even when times were hard. He continued to farm with his son, Jerry, until this past spring when he planted 1/2 a round and knew he couldn’t do it anymore.
Curtis loved to dance, making many friends around Minnesota. In later years he especially enjoyed the dances and friends at the Senior Center in Willmar. He also liked going to the Sunburg Cafe and Freida’s in Willmar to eat and visit. He helped with the construction and served on the board of the Old Log Church of Norway Lake and helped with the church construction. He also enjoyed sharing stories of growing up during the depression. Hunting and fishing with family and friends, even if they didn’t catch anything, was a good memory for him. He was honest and enjoyed working hard.
His wife Julie passed away after 47 years of marriage. Later he was married to Bea Bistodeau for several years. For the past 12 years he has enjoyed the very special friendship of Brenda Michels.
After he became ill this past July, he experienced many encouraging words, phone calls, laughter, hugs, cards and gifts. It was very important to him that everyone knew how much he appreciated that. He also appreciated the kindness and care he received from the hospital, Family Practice Staff and Bethesda Grand Nursing Home. The nurses and therapists appreciated his sense of humor.
He is survived by his children: Jeffrey (Cheryl), Jerry (special friend Maggie Bonnema), Joel (Julie), Jacque Rust (Brian), Renee (Craig Johnson), Jon (Melissa); 16 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and Carol Simonson, sister-in-law.
He is preceded in death by his wife Julie, his parents, 4 brothers and 4 sisters.
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