Obituaries
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Service Information
Lakewood Memorial Chapel Minneapolis
Saturday June 7th 2014
2 PM

Visitation Information
Peterson Chapel Saint Michael
Friday June 6th 2014
5pm – 8 pm

Harlan Johnson of St. Michael, MN, touched many lives in his 73 years. A gentle giant of a man, Harlan was a loving husband, father, and grandpa.

He was a generous friend with a huge heart and he was a very proud soldier. His family and friends will miss him dearly. Harlan faced every challenge in his life head-on and always felt he was the luckiest man on earth.

Born on July 17, 1940, in Minneapolis, Harlan enjoyed a mischievous “boys will be boys” childhood, and was active in baseball, football, hockey and basketball. Raised by his mother and grandmother, he learned the value of hard work at an early age and always knew firsthand how much he was loved. Harlan’s grandchildren enjoyed listening to his stories, especially about his childhood.

In 1957, Harlan joined the United States Navy. While stationed in Japan, he met and married his wife, Yuriko. They eventually moved back to Minnesota and had three sons before she passed away unexpectedly in 1963. A few months later, Harlan’s mother passed away from lung cancer, as he began to encounter the challenges of being a widower with three infants, at the young age of 23. After retiring from the Navy, Harlan worked at Metallurgical, and as luck would have it, he met a beautiful young lady while playing for the company’s softball team.

In 1964, Harlan married Karen, who adopted his three young sons and gave birth to their daughter five years later. Although they built a beautiful new home in New Hope, Harlan stayed busy with his endless talents and was always making improvements. In addition to his service in the Navy, Harlan proudly enlisted in the United States Army Reserves while working as assistant superintendent at the Bureau of Engraving, and superintendent at Circuit Science. He worked tirelessly to provide for his family and was especially active in their sports interests. Harlan was a past board member and equipment manager for the New Hope Athletic Association and past president of the Cooper High School Hockey Boosters. Harlan eventually enlisted in active duty in the Army and was fortunate to stay in the Twin Cities while traveling throughout the U.S., including Alaska, and to South Korea, Germany and England. As the children grew, Harlan and Karen began their annual vacations to Hawaii – something he enjoyed until the past two years. Married nearly 30 years, Karen sadly passed away after a valiant fight against breast cancer.

At the age of 54, Harlan received his Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, Wisc. In 1999, the Army awarded him the Legion of Merit, and the following year, he retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 4. In total, he proudly served his country with 33 years of military service. Harlan was a life member of the Reserve Officers Association, VFW and American Legion.

In 2002, he and his wife, Linda, moved from New Hope to St. Michael, where they built a townhouse and enjoyed small town living; however, this would not be the end of his continual remodeling throughout the house! He liked to stay busy and especially enjoyed summer when he could be outside in his gardens. Harlan also served as board president of The Preserve West Townhouse Association. When all the roofs were damaged by a hail storm and needed replacement – he proved to be the best man to oversee the project from start to finish. He was always willing to go the extra mile.

In May 2012, Harlan was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Even though his life expectancy was only two to nine months, he fought fearlessly and kept his sense of humor and friendly demeanor throughout his enduring battle. On May 30, 2014, Harlan passed away surrounded by his loved ones. The family is forever grateful to Dr. Hengbing Wang, Dr. Nelson Adamson, Dr. Harold Londer and the entire staff at Monticello Cancer Center for their exceptional care; and to Sarah and Jane of North Memorial Hospice for keeping Harlan very comfortable at home.

Harlan will be deeply missed by his beloved wife of 18 years, Linda; his daughter, Kelli Dooher and her husband, Doug, and their children, Allie, Kayia and Danica of Brooklyn Park, Minn.; son, Craig Johnson of New Richmond, Wisc.; son, Allen Johnson and his wife, Cindy of Edina, Minn.; son, David Johnson of Crane, Ind.; and grandson, Joseph Johnson of Rogers, Minn. Harlan is also survived by his cousin, Beverly Voss; Linda’s sister, Nancy Goemer and her husband, Gene, and their family; dear friends, Ken and Nancy Bernier; and Ron and Helen Jiracek.

Funeral service Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at Lakewood Cemetery Memorial Chapel, 3600 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minn. Visitation Friday, June 6, 2014, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at The Peterson Chapel, 300 Main Street, St. Michael, MN 55376, Lunch will be served at Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum and Reception Center. Interment with military honors at Lakewood Cemetery. Per Harlan’s “final orders,” feel free to wear casual or Hawaiian attire to the visitation and memorial service. In lieu of flowers, please offer an act of kindness to someone or plant something in Harlan’s memory.

Serving the family…
The Peterson Chapel

2 Guestbook Entries

  1. John & Kris Huth

    Linda — know that we are thinking of you and the rest of Harlan’s family. I just read his obituary and you guys must be very proud of him! I know you loved him very much and will miss him. John and I send HUGS !!!

    Reply
  2. DK & T Johnson

    Linda, thank you for sharing this final journey with us. What a great story. Rest well Chief.

    Reply

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