LITTLE FALLS -- Willard J. Johnson, 88-year-old resident of Little Falls, died Sunday, April 25, 2004, at the St. Cloud VA Center in St. Cloud, Minn. Funeral services will be held Thursday, April 29, at 1 p.m. at Grace Covenant Church in Little Falls, Minn., with the Rev. Steven Anderson officiating. Burial will be in Oakland Cemetery in Little Falls, Minn. Friends may call from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the church on Thursday. Memorials preferred to Crosswinds Community Church, P.O. Box 881882, Port St. Lucie, Fla., 34988-1882, where Jennifer Klaus, Willard's niece, and her husband Steve, are planting a church.
Willard was born Dec. 26, 1915, in Two Harbors, Minn., to the late Nikolai and Sofie (Eckhoff) Johnson. He grew up and graduated from Two Harbors High School. He attended Duluth Business College for one year. He served in the United States Army and the United States Navy, receiving the Purple Heart and the Silver Star. He was united in marriage to Hazel Otto on July 9, 1946, at St. Paul's Evangelical and Reformed Church in Duluth, Minn. The couple made their home in Duluth, Minn., from 1946 until 1958. In 1958, the couple moved to Little Falls, Minn., where Willard worked as an accountant for Falls Court dental office from 1958-1976. Willard was a very affectionate and loving husband to Hazel who passed away on Dec. 8, 1986. He was a very vital part of the Little Falls Hockey Program. Willard was a member of Grace Covenant Church in Little Falls, Minn., Disabled American Veterans of Little Falls, Minn., Kiwanis International of Little Falls, Minn., and the Sons of Norway. He enjoyed fishing, traveling, reading, wood carving, bird watching, photography and spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is survived by his children, Kathleen Nornberg and husband, Kenneth of Brainerd, Minn., Thomas Johnson and wife, Karen, of Shoreview, Minn.; grandchildren, Emily Ranweiler and her husband Joe, Jonathan, Kyle (Jackie), Matthew and Kate Nornberg, Natalie and Betsy Johnson; great-grandchildren, Nicholas and Madeline Ranweiler.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Hazel (Otto) Johnson Dec. 8, 1986, sisters and brothers.
Arrangements are with the Shelley Funeral Chapel in Little Falls, Minn.
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