Cover photo for Gerald William Johnson's Obituary
Gerald William Johnson Profile Photo

Gerald William Johnson

October 27, 1937 — January 12, 2024

Mankato

Gerald William Johnson

UPDATED:

Gerald W. “Jerry” Johnson, age 86, passed away January 12, 2024 at the Pillars of Mankato. He was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and spent his final months under the care of his loving wife of 65 years, Barb and the Dimensions Memory staff. Even to the end, he kept his sense of humor and quick smile. Per his wishes, his body was donated to the Mayo Clinic for the benefit of their medical students.

Jerry’s Celebration of Life will take place Saturday, April 13, 2024 at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 222 Pfau Street, Mankato, MN at 11:00 am with visitation one hour prior to services at the church. A lunch will follow at daughter Jill Hilgers’ home, 171 Miranda Trail, Madison Lake, MN. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, Dimensions Memory Care at The Pillars of Mankato, the Lewy Body Dementia Association or a non-profit of your choice.

Jerry was born October 27, 1937 and was raised in North Minneapolis by parents Frank and Lillian (Edstrom) Johnson. They were blessed with the addition of sister Janice in 1944. He attended Patrick Henry High School and graduated in 1956. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corp and headed to Camp Pendleton for Basic Training. He returned to Minneapolis and married his high school sweetheart, Barbara D. Johnson, on September 20, 1958. He remained in the Marine Corp Reserves for 6 years while working and attending school for drafting. In 1961, they moved to Brooklyn Center, where they raised their family and lived until 2001. Jerry had many different jobs throughout his life, but construction management was where he excelled.

During retirement, they spent six months in Green Valley, Arizona and six months on Platte Lake near Hillman, MN. Every year they took a slightly different route “to see something new”. The kids and grandkids loved spending time at the lake with Grandma and Grandpa, and also made trips to visit them in Arizona to enjoy some sunshine. In 2017, they decided the drives back and forth to Arizona were getting to be a lot, so they moved back to Minnesota full time. In 2018 they packed up the lake for a move to Mankato to be near their daughter. They always enjoyed learning about the areas they moved to and finding fun things to keep them busy, as well as new friends to spend time with.

Jerry enjoyed being active. The whole Johnson family were avid downhill skiers and spent time at various ski hills while the kids were in school. Tennis was a passion of Jerry’s, and he played in leagues in Arizona and Brainerd. Both Jerry and Barb enjoyed playing golf. Travel was another thing he enjoyed. Jerry loved planning routes, booking hotels, and finding interesting things to see along the way. In their travels, they saw many of the presidential libraries and historic points of interest. Jerry was constantly wanting to learn more and was in the “Lifelong Learner’s Program” through MSU-Mankato, where he attended quite a few seminars.

Another one of Jerry’s interests was creative writing. He wrote and self-published three romance novels, geared toward the mature audience. He was active in a creative writing group in Arizona, who helped critique each other’s work and add inspiration when needed.

Jerry is survived by his loving wife Barb, their children Mark (Doreen) Johnson, Greg Johnson, Jill (Jim) Hilgers and Todd (Raquel) Johnson; grandchildren Heather (Ryan) Gram, Joshua Johnson (fiancé Sam), Miranda (Andy) Mair, Cassandra Nelson, Cody (Holly) Hilgers, Ross Johnson, Nicolas Johnson (girlfriend Shelby), and Grace Johnson; seven great-grandchildren; his devoted sister Janice (Don) Uggla, brother-in-law Bud Opitz, and six nieces and their families. He was preceded in death by his parents Frank W. and Lillian Johnson, parents-in-law Carl and Betty Johnson, sister- in-law Nancy Opitz, and infant brother William.



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Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, April 13, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Christ the King Lutheran Church

222 Pfau St, Mankato, MN 56001

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Memorial Service

Saturday, April 13, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Christ the King Lutheran Church

222 Pfau St, Mankato, MN 56001

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