James Harlow Johnson

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James Harlow Johnson, 87, of Minneapolis, Minnesota  died Monday, April 20, 2020 at home.

Jim was born in New London July 11, 1932 at his grandparents’ home. His parents were Harlow and Sovina (Skeie) Johnson.

James graduated from Kerkhoven High School in 1950. He went on to graduate from Concordia College in Moorhead in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and physical education. Teaching history in Elbow Lake was his first job after graduation.

Jim and Marilynn Swanson of Elbow Lake were married August 24, 1957 in the Elbow Lake Presbyterian Church.

After graduating from William Mitchell College of Law (St. Paul) in 1961, his legal career began in St. Cloud with the Quinlivan firm. From St. Cloud, Jim and his family moved to Benson where he served as County Attorney for several years.

Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing and sports throughout his life. He lettered in baseball, basketball and football in high school, played hockey at Concordia and was an assistant football coach in Elbow Lake. He continued to golf through 2019. Other life-long interests were collecting jazz vinyl records and first edition books by favorite authors. Making people laugh brought great to joy to him. Maintaining home-town and college ties was very important to Jim.

He was passionate about his 17 years of volunteer work at the History Center in St. Paul and Mill City Museum in Minneapolis.

“Thoughts While Thinking” was the name of the column he wrote for the Kerkhoven Banner where his sense of humor and photographic memory served him well. He enjoyed the challenge of writing and also published a book named “Dummy Hanson” (copyright 2008) – a story about a deaf baseball pitcher’s life in the hearing world. Jim was a star American Junior Legion and town team baseball player.

Surviving members of his family are wife Marilynn of 62 years; daughters Chillon (Johnson) Leach of St. Paul, and Cynthia Johnson of Whidbey Island, WA; three grandchildren Kristin Leach of Minneapolis, Shannon Leach of Minneapolis, and Kevin Leach of Brooklyn, NY; sister Mary Kay Austvold of Kerkhoven and brother Michael Johnson of Willmar and nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents Harlow and Sovina Johnson.

A family grave-side celebration will be held at the Kerkhoven cemetery at a later date.

He touched many lives with his generosity and good humor and will be dearly missed.

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