The last time any of his kids saw him, our dad said “I’m tired.” God saw how tired he was and took him home during the early hours of July 8, 2015.
Howard W. Johnson, known by some as “Ho Jo,” was born on Oct. 1, 1923, to Roger and Alice Johnson in Hibbing, Minn. He was the fourth of nine children. He was baptized in Our Savior’s Lutheran Congregation of Hibbing in 1935. He graduated from high school in Hibbing. He enlisted in the Navy in October of 1942 as a “Radioman,” second class. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in December of 1945.
He soon headed toward Seattle from Minnesota to start a new life. He ran out of money in Billings and began working at White Trucking as a mechanic. While in Billings, at a roller-skating rink, he met Kaye Dye. They were married on March 4, 1950. They had four children: Doug, Penny, Tim and Peggy.
In his younger years, he loved to hunt, especially in the Ruby Wilderness for elk.
He worked as a mechanic at White Trucking, Eddy’s Bakery, and retired from Kal Bus Lines.
After he retired, he took golf lessons and became an avid golfer. This surprised many of us, as he had always thought it was a silly game, trying to hit a little ball into a little hole. He joined the Pryor Creek Seniors and enjoyed the game even more. He missed it so much when he was physically unable to play.
He also loved to putter and build things from metal and wood. Their backyard was filled with metalwork he made.
Howard faced many, many physical issues during the last 20 years. However, he always had a tenacious and stubborn side that wouldn’t let those issues get the best of him. He was a gentle man but so strong in will and the ability to accomplish anything he set his mind to … a classic example of “the Greatest Generation.” His family called him the “energizer bunny” because when we thought he couldn’t fight anymore, he would rally.
Howard is survived by his wife of 65 years, Kaye; sons Doug, Tim and his wife Maria; daughters Peggy and husband Rob Canan and Penny and husband Butch Morse. Grandchildren Andy and fiancée Katanya, Danielle and husband Nathan, Rachel, Amanda, Samantha and Kylee also survive him. He is also survived by one brother, Robert Johnson of Eugene, Ore., and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to give thanks to The Dialysis Center, Morning Star Assisted Living, MET Transit, numerous nurses and doctors from both hospitals and Dr. Lucas. He was treated with grace and dignity from all of you.
There will be a graveside memorial service at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 14, at the Sunset Memorial Gardens Mausoleum, with a reception at Faith Chapel (Broadwater entrance) following the service.