Robert L. "Bob" Johnson, age 75, of Crookston, MN, died unexpectedly Saturday evening, November 17, 2012, at RiverView Health in Crookston. Bob was born in Williston, ND, on September 4, 1937, and was one of six children of the union of Berthel J. and Clara (Weirson) Johnson. As a child he moved with his family to Grand Forks, ND, where he graduated from Central High School in 1955. He went on to attend the University of North Dakota, where he met and fell in love with a young coed by the name of Joan Kathleen Acker. Bob and Joan were united in marriage on February 14, 1958 at Fargo, ND. Through the years they were blessed by the births of two daughters and three sons. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1960 Bob and Joan moved to St. Paul, MN where he taught at Como Park Junior High School. They returned to Grand Forks a few years later and Bob worked on his Masters degree in Physical and Natural Sciences while teaching labs at UND. In August of 1969 the Johnson family moved to Crookston when Bob accepted a position as a science professor at the University of Minnesota Technical College. As the years went by the school grew to become known as the University of Minnesota Crookston, and Bob's instruction in anatomy, physiology, biology, and genetics were an integral part of the evolving institution. He also held roles as a faculty athletic representative and longtime student advisor. Bob was very active in UMC athletics, serving as football videographer and statistician for many years, and running the clock at basketball and hockey games. He was very humbled by the honors bestowed on him during his tenure at UMC, including the Distinguished Teacher and Teambacker of the Year awards, and induction into the prestigious Athletic Hall of Fame. He retired from his long and rewarding career in education in 2000.
Bob was a devoted member of Trinity Lutheran Church, and taught Sunday school and sang in the choir for many years. He was a founding member of the local Kiwanis Club, and had served as its secretary-treasurer since conception. He was also currently the secretary-treasurer of the Adult Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, and was on the Board of Directors of the UMC Teambackers. He and Joan were recently honored by the City of Crookston as ‘Experienced Americans’ in a program held at the Golden Link Center this past July. In his younger days, Bob participated in the city volleyball and slow-pitch softball leagues, and also umpired for many years. He took great joy in family gatherings, and keeping up with the activities of everyone through Facebook and Skype. Bob will be very lovingly remembered and sadly missed by his family, colleagues, friends, and the thousands of students he mentored.
Family members include Bob's beloved wife of fifty-four years, Joan; their 5 children: Laurie and Brad Holcomb of Grand Forks, ND, Shelly and Jesse Kitrell of Sioux City, IA, Steve and Teri Johnson of Fargo, ND, Chad Johnson and Shalina Peera of Corona del Mar, CA, and Paul and Carmen Johnson of Little Falls, MN; 16 grandchildren: Andy Holcomb, Nicki (Chris) Green, Tim, Amy, Ashley, Alison, and Daniel Holcomb, Rachel, Nathan and Alexis Kitrell, Blake and Alec Johnson, and Landon, Hayden, Coltin, and Isabella Johnson; and 2 great-grandchildren, Maia and Lily Green. Bob also leaves a sister, Connie (Duane) Lowe of Grand Forks; brother, James (Myrna) Johnson of the Philippines; sister-in-law, Gloria Johnson of Moorhead, MN; brother-in-law, Dexter Bracy of Portland, MI; and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Roger and Jerry Johnson; and sister, Marlene "Molly" Bracy. May God bless Bob's memory.
The funeral service for Robert "Bob" Johnson will be held at 10:30 am, Monday, November 26, 2012, at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston with The Rev. Jo Gast, officiating. Visitation will be at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home on Sunday from 2-4:00 pm, with a 4:00 pm prayer service, and also at the church for one hour before the funeral. Interment will be in the Oakdale Cemetery, Crookston. www.stenshoelhouske.com