Kenneth "Ken" L. Johnson
Kenneth "Ken" L. Johnson
12/10/1926 - 03/11/2014
Kenneth "Ken" L. Johnson, age 87 of Willmar died on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at his home in Willmar. Memorial service will be 1:00 pm on Saturday, March 15, 2014 at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar. Spring burial will be in Cloverleaf Cemetery in Willmar. Visitation will be from 5-7pm on Friday at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar and will continue one hour prior to the service.
Ken was born the eldest child of Delbert and Gladys (Erickson) Johnson on December 10, 1926. Ken grew up on the family farm south of Kerkhoven, MN. He attended country school, Murdock High School, and went on to further study at the Minneapolis Business College. Ken joined the United States Navy in 1944 during WWII, and was honorably discharged on August 9, 1946.
Ken married his high school sweetheart, Jeanne Falk, on August 8, 1948. They lived in Kerkhoven where he worked for the local Ford dealership. In 1951, their son Randall was born, and in 1955, the family moved to California. Ken continued working in the parts departments of Ford dealerships and became manager of the parts department at Lago Lincoln/Mercury in Los Gatos, CA. He earned many company awards during his 42 years in the industry, including a trip to Spain. In 1981, Ken and Jeanne returned to Minnesota. They owned and operated a motel in Willmar for a time and then in 1985, moved to Maple Plain where Ken returned to work for Ford until he retired in 1990, and moved back to the Willmar area.
After his retirement, Ken enjoyed driving a semi, hauling sugar beets in the fall for his cousin Jerry (Carol) Erickson. He was grateful to them for helping him get his commercial license and very thankful for their help when he experienced a heart attack while driving during the 1993 harvest season.
Ken was raised and confirmed in Zion Lutheran Church in rural Kerkhoven. Ken remained in the Lutheran Church throughout the many moves, serving as teacher, usher, and Sunday School superintendent. In 2006, upon moving to their current home in town, he and Jeanne joined the First Covenant Church in Willmar.
Ken enjoyed time with family and friends, mechanical projects and working on cars, building and operating amateur ham radios, hunting, fishing, western music, computer "challenges" and a good game of pinochle or cribbage.
Ken is survived by his wife Jeanne; son Rand (and Kay) Johnson; grandsons Cale (and Amanda) Johnson and Trevor (and Becca) Johnson; great-grandchildren Addi, Corbin, Cameron and Declan;
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Donald and sister Elaine.
"Life is a precious gift. Live it to its fullest, ever remembering to do so as pleasing unto the Lord."