Jerald “Jerry” A. Johnson, age 75, of rural Glenwood, MN, died Saturday, October 3, 2020, at home surrounded by his family and under the care of Douglas County Hospice. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, October 9th, at Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood, with Pastor Becky Worner officiating. Visitation will be at the funeral home in Glenwood on Thursday from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. and resume on Friday morning, one hour prior to the service. Interment will be in East Zion Lutheran Cemetery, rural Starbuck. Arrangements are with Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home of Glenwood. Pursuant to Gov. Walz's executive order, face masks will be required in the funeral home building and those attending are asked to properly social distance both indoors and out.
Jerald Allen Johnson, son of Kenneth and Elsie (Evenson) Johnson, was born on October 18, 1944, in Starbuck, Minnesota. The first of four children born to the couple, he was raised on a farm south of Starbuck, with his sister, Nellie, and his brothers, Robert, and Keith. He was baptized and confirmed at nearby East Zion Lutheran Church and attended school in Starbuck. After high school he attended Alexandria Technical College where he studied Diesel Mechanics and Farm Implement Repair, earning an associate degree.
In 1967, while attending a dance at Lakeside Ballroom in Glenwood, Jerry met Rosalyn Beyer, of Benson. The two began dating and were married on June 2, 1968, at Rosalyn’s church, St John’s Lutheran, in Holloway. By this time, like many young men, Jerry had been drafted into the United States Army. He had already received his basic training earlier in the year at Ft. Campbell in Kentucky and his unit shipped out to Vietnam one week after he and Rosalyn wed.
Jerry’s service in Vietnam took place during Phase III of the Tet Offensive of 1968. For his service, he received the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Bronze Service Stars, the Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, a Good Conduct commendation, a Mechanic Badge, and a Sharpshooter Rifle award. After a year in Vietnam, Jerry returned to the States and settled at Fort Bliss in Texas with Rosalyn, who had been living in Minneapolis where she worked as a legal secretary while Jerry was overseas.
In January of 1970, Jerry received his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army and he and Rosalyn returned to her hometown of Benson, MN, where he was employed as a mechanic at John Deere. During this time, they were blessed with the birth of their son, Jeremy, and their daughter, Angela. In 1976, the family moved to Starbuck, where Jerry had grown up, and he started his own business known as “Jerry’s Implement Repair”. When the children were in high school, the family moved to Alexandria, where Jerry went to work doing mechanic work for the local John Deere dealer. A couple of years later they purchased their current home on Maple Lake between Alexandria and Glenwood.
Jerry eventually transitioned out of mechanic work and started driving semi-truck for Styer Transportation out of Lakeville. Among other things, Styer hauled John Deere parts, which given his fondness for all things John Deere, appealed to Jerry. He very much enjoyed trucking and seeing various parts of the U.S. He received awards from Styer for his safe driving and was proud to have logged enough safe miles to have driven the equivalent of several trips around the world.
Jerry enjoyed time spent with family and friends. Over the years, many happy memories were made camping. His primary hobby was restoring John Deere tractors. When it came to mechanics, he had the ability to visualize and memorize detailed information, which made him a very gifted mechanic. He and Rosalyn continued to enjoy dancing whenever they had the opportunity, and he was a lifetime member of the Starbuck VFW, as well as Shalom Community Lutheran Church of Starbuck.
Jerry had a beautiful smile. He was always quick to offer help to others and his wit and humor made him fun to be around. He was very observant, which made it difficult for his children to slip anything by him. He was also a bit mischievous in that he liked to stand behind Rosalyn when she disciplined the children and make faces at them so it was difficult for them not to laugh while being scolded. He was not a man of many words, but when he spoke, his words were meaningful.
Jerry was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Despite mounting a valiant fight, he passed away at his home with his family by his side, on Saturday, October 3, 2020. He was very much loved and will be sorely missed.
Jerry is survived by his wife of 52 years, Rosalyn “Roz” of Glenwood; his son, Jeremy (Erin) Johnson of Garfield; his daughter, Angela Johnson of Glenwood; 5 grandsons, Cole, Mitch, Shaun, Griffin, and Dylan Runge; a granddaughter, Ryla Johnson; his sister, Nellie (Jerry) Kratzke of Vergas; two brothers, Robert (Donna) of Willmar and Keith (fiancé Jane) of Starbuck; along with nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth and Elsie; his wife’s parents, Raymond and Marcella Beyer; and a nephew, Brian Fuller.
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