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May 17, 1927 – Saturday, October 1, 2011

Service Information
Calvary Lutheran Church in Mora, Minnesota
Thursday, October 6, 2011
11:00 a.m.

Visitation Information

Private Family Visitation

Joe was born on May 17, 1927 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to the late Joe and Anna Kolden Johnson. Like many of his generation he learned to speak English only after attending public school. The only child of recent immigrants, he spoke only Norwegian at home, and was very proud of this heritage for the rest of his life. He was baptized on May 20th, 1927 at the Swedish Hospital and confirmed on September27th, 1942 at Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church of Minneapolis, MN.
Joe graduated from Central High School in Minneapolis on January 24, 1946, finishing his studies early in time to enlist in the Navy during World War II. A Naval Quartermaster, he spent the majority of his service from 1945 to 1947 in the South Pacific. Returning home, he attended the University of Minnesota, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in both History and Geography in 1949. He followed this by attending St. Cloud State Teacher’s College where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary and Junior High Education. He began his teaching career in Crosby/Ironton, MN in 1950.
Joe married his only sweetheart, Ivy Gates, in 1951. They had been childhood friends and had dated all the way through high school and college. Both of them teachers, Ivy and Joe shared a love of children and education for the rest of their lives. This solid foundation made for a happy life together for the two of them.
He left his teaching job when called again to serve his country during the Korean Conflict. Again, as a Naval Quartermaster in the South Pacific, he served from 1952 to 1954. He spoke often of his Navy days, and considered them some of his fondest memories. When he returned to Minnesota he was on the teaching staff at St. Cloud State College.
He and Ivy moved to Mora, Minnesota in 1956, where Joe began his tenure as the principal of Mora’s Elementary School and continued his education at St. Cloud State University receiving a Master of Science Degree in Education in 1961. He enthusiastically held that job for 30 years. Joe and Ivy raised their children, Jay and Mary, in Mora and Joe was active in activities at Calvary Lutheran Church, The Lion’s Club, The VFW and American Legion, The reserve Police Department and The Sons of Norway. Joe enjoyed many hobbies, his time at the family cabin, traveling and visiting his children and grandchildren. He retired from school administration in 1986 and made good use of his retirement years enjoying these pursuits and continuing his community service.
Joe passed away on October 1, 2011 at Wellstead of Rogers, MN.
Joe is survived his wife of 60 years, Ivy of Apt. 208 Diamondcrest Assisted Living Rogers, Minnesota.
His son, Jay Johnson and his wife Karen and grandsons Jacob and William of Maple Grove, Minnesota. His daughter, Mary Oaks and her husband Patrick and grandsons P.J. and Max, of Portland, Oregon.
Joe will be interred at the National Veteran’s Cemetery at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer gifts to Calvary Lutheran Church in Mora in Joe’s memory.
After a private family burial at Fort Snelling Joe will be remembered at a Memorial Service at his home church, Calvary Lutheran Church in Mora, on October 6, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.

The family would like to thank all the staff at Wellstead and North Memorial Hospice for their care, comfort and support towards Joe in his final days.

3 Guestbook Entries

  1. Alayne (Wiener) Swedeen

    Dear Ivy,
    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Joe. I enjoyed having him as my Principal and getting to know you both outside of school at our church. I have many great memories from school and church and Joe was by far my favorite Principal. I mean that, he was! Even after all these years, it was so nice to see you two before your move to Rogers. I don’t know how school teachers/principals do it, but they remember every student and can recognize them no matter how old they are. It amazes me! Cherish the memories and know that Joe is at peace. God Bless you Ivy.

  2. Carin Snell

    Mr. Johnson was my elementary school principal in the mid to late 70s! I have fond memories of him. Loved his death grip handshake! What a wonderful man!

  3. Kenne [Rooney} Keocher

    Joe was the principal during the years all 5 of my children attended Fairview. He was a dear man and I am happy to have known him.


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