Erwood “Woody” Johnson, 82, passed away on Friday, November 29, 2019, at Alex Assisted Living in Alexandria MN.
Erwood was born in Little Falls, MN, on March 13, 1937, to Eldred and Ruth (Close) Johnson. As a young boy, he made sure his three his younger brothers knew who was boss. He participated in Golden Gloves boxing and played baseball for the town ball teams in the Randall area. He graduated from Little Falls High School in 1955 and went on to school at St Cloud Teachers College. On April 25, 1959, he married the best catch of his life, Mary Scherer, at Holy Name Church in Medina, MN.
From the beginning of their married life, Erwood worked at many different jobs. He taught school in a one-room schoolhouse, worked at Camp Ripley, managed a Gambles Hardware store, and was a salesman traveling around the state selling seed corn, dairy equipment and Belarus tractors. A new job usually meant the Johnsons needed to relocate. The family moved frequently until in 1970 they moved to the Long Prairie/Osakis area. Mary could finally unpack and settle down.
After ending his years on the road, Erwood worked as an assistant manager at Coborn’s. When the time came to retire, he switched gears again. He contracted with the DNR to mow public lake accesses and repaired and sold Lawnboy lawnmowers and Case and Farmall tractors. Most of his time, though, was spent raising a huge garden and selling the produce as Marywoody Gardens at the farmers’ markets in Long Prairie and Osakis. Seed catalogs were piled high next to his favorite chair. Hosting Easter dinner was a real source of frustration for Mary because of all the trays of seedlings that had to be moved out of the way for the family get-together.
Woody was an avid hunter and fisherman. He could always shoot the biggest buck, bag the most geese and catch the most fish (unless Mary was along); or, so he liked to tell everyone. The fish in Lake Osakis must be swimming around a little more relaxed now that the old, blue-eyed Swede has moved on.
Erwood will be remembered as a colorful character who loved a good joke, tried to fix everything, hated ketchup, and willingly shared his beer – whatever was the cheapest he could find.
Preceding Erwood in death are his parents; brothers Dwayne Johnson and Allen Johnson; brothers-in-law Bill Scherer, Joe Blaine, Greg Reiser, Ron Winterhalter and Adrian Jordan.
Erwood is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Mary, of Osakis; daughter, Rena (Mark) Irsfeld of Browerville and sons, Royce, Darwin and Blane (Boogie) all of Osakis; 12 grandchildren Gretchen Dreher, Molly Marlow, Britta Crosby, Preston Irsfeld, Kyle Thieschafer, Ashlee Nordlund, Trenton Johnson, Zachary Johnson, Tanner Johnson, Tirrany Johnson, Ashley Browen and Aaron Browen; and 13 great grandchildren Jalynn, Maverick, Lincoln, Ryker, Tucker, Ayla, Braxton, Cooper, Rylind, Ripley, Triton, Aksel and Annali; brother, Warren (Yvonne) Johnson; sisters-in-law Leone Johnson, Barbara Blaine, Margaret Reiser, Rose Winterhalter, Rita Jordan, Alice Scherer and Betsy (Kenny) Kottke; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Services for Erwood “Woody” Johnson will be held on Friday, December 6, at 11:00 am at St Mary’s of Mt Carmel Catholic Church in Long Prairie. Visitation will be at the church from 9:30 am-10:45 before the service. Burial will be at St Mary’s Cemetery.
Erwood’s family wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the staff at Alex Assisted Living for the kind and loving care that was given to Woody during the time he resided there.
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