NOTE CHANGE OF DATE OF VISITATION AND SERVICE
Bruce spent his last Valentine’s Day with Barb, who wore his favorite color, a red shirt studded with hearts, and as with most of the holiday moments of his life since his disability, received phone calls from the out-of-town family members who loved him most, before passing away in the evening.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, March 2, at 10:30 at SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church, in Mankato, MN, corner of Main & 5th Streets. A gathering of family and friends will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 PM, Wednesday, March 1, at Mankato Mortuary, 1001 North Riverfront Drive, and will continue one hour before the service at the church on Thursday. Bruce’s favorite color was red, thus his beloved 1960 Buick Invicta Convertible. We invite those of you so inclined, to please wear something red to his visitation/funeral – his celebration of life! Due to a severe health condition, we ask you to please refrain from wearing colognes, perfumes, scented body lotions, etc. Thank you in advance for doing this. Lunch will be served immediately following in Jesuit Hall. Bruce will be placed at rest in a private family ceremony at Calvary Cemetery. To leave an online condolence for the family, or sign the guestbook, visit his obituary at mankatomortuary.com or obituaries.mankatofreepress.com. The service will be livestreamed from Bruce’s obituary at www.mankatomortuary.com.
Bruce Allen Johnson, 79, was born to Bernita Mae (Briggs) Johnson and Lloyd Albert Johnson on November 30, 1943, in Minneapolis, MN. He was the 4th son to be born in his family. He graduated from Mankato High School in 1962 and achieved his certification in electronics at Mankato Vocational/Technical School in 1963, the first public post-secondary vocational/technical school in MN. He was employed by Remington/Rand Univac in Minneapolis. After being laid off, Bruce and his wife, Barb, ran the Pickwick Inn, in Pickwick, MN for 4 years before returning to Mankato. Bruce had consummate trouble shooting skills and was hired by National Poly Products to maintain and make parts for their one-of-a-kind plastic extrusion equipment until he became permanently and totally disabled from his injuries there. Bruce was a hard worker, taking on numerous hours of overtime, and being on call all of his working years. Bruce could no longer maintain a position due to his injuries, and believing that printing would allow him to move about, rest when he needed to, and keep working, he went back to school in 1982, and received his Graphic Communications diploma, graduating at the top of his class, from the same school, which now is known as South Central College, and opened B Johnson Graphics in Mankato, which he owned and operated until his health forced him to retire 5 years later. He employed all four of his children, and his two sons, Brad & Bob, made printing their career for many years. He has been disabled for 44 years, and never complained once. When a friend marveled at that recently, he simply said, “I couldn’t give up.”
Bruce married Barbara Ann Solyntjes on June 6, 1964, at the rectory at Holy Rosary Church in North Mankato. For 59 years, he spent his life with his true love. They were blessed with four children, Brian, Brad, Bob, & Beth, and were happy to see them grow into successful and positive members of society.
Bruce and Barb had identical initials BAJ, and during this time, LBJ, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and his wife Lady Bird Johnson, and family were in the White House, had named their children with identical initials, and Bruce lovingly consented to allow Barb to do the same with their children. When he was a junior in high school, Bruce already exhibited his electronic skills, by setting up a radio station in his parent’s basement, of which he was the DJ. He made friends with the repairman at Meyer & Sons and came away with 3 or 4 discarded TV chassis, and a couple of large speakers. He tried to talk him out of a tape recorder, but the repairman wanted to keep that for himself.
Bruce enjoyed golf, handyman projects, he could fix/repair anything, travel, poker, of which he was a card shark, teaching CCD students, watching old westerns, antiquing with Barb, stays in Victorian B & B’s, watching and absorbing documentaries, sailing his sailboat, the Barbara Ann, until he was unable to get in and out of it anymore, and playing card/puzzle video games. While Bruce was still mobile, he especially loved following his in-town grandchildren’s sporting activities, watching them grow, and he was always available for them anytime they needed him.
Bruce is survived by his wife, Barb; his three sons, Brian (Rachelle), Brad (Amie), Bob (Carey); and his favorite daughter, Beth Shank (Mike); 10 grandchildren, Holli (Kelly), Kylie (Carter), Dustin Shank (Alyssa), Hanna Abbott (Michael), Carissa, Nate (Maddie – Bruce’s beloved nurse), Nick, Scott, Finn, and Kian; 8 great-grandchildren, Jacob, Andrew, Dani, Ali, Aubrey Shank, Eleanor Shank, Kolbe Shank, and Tabitha Abbott; brother-in-law, Gene (Linda) Solyntjes; and sister-in-law, Bev Solyntjes.
Bruce was preceded in death by his parents; his stepfather, Arthur Emil Johnson; his brothers, Lloyd and John; a brother who died at birth; and one grandson, Beckett.
The family would like to thank the staffs of Ecumen Pathstone Home Care, Hillcrest Healthcare
Center, and Mayo Hospice for the excellent care given to Bruce.
Memorial gifts may be directed to SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church or donor’s choice.
The live stream link below is a complimentary service provided by
Mankato Area Funeral Homes.
Unforeseen technical, internet, facility, and/or acoustical circumstances may produce a diminished end product. Please note, if the live stream does not appear, we are attempting to record and publish the service for later viewing.