Arlen Dean Johnson, 69, of Eagle Bend, passed away suddenly at the family cabin with his wife by his side on May 23, 2021. A Celebration of Arlen’s Life will take place at 11:00 a.m. on June 5, 2021, at Faith Lutheran Church in Eagle Bend, MN. Visitation is from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. before the funeral service.
On September 26, 1951, Arlen was born in Bertha, MN, to Archie and Lucille (Jones) Johnson. In 1969, he graduated from Eagle Bend Public School. He attended trade school for auto body mechanics. In 1975, he met his future wife, Joleen Desotell, and swept her off her feet. They were happily married on July 10, 1976. Eagle Bend has been their home for the last 44 years. Arlen was a loving father to his four children Gary, Kristi, Pattijo, and Kevin.
Arlen worked at auto body repair shops, building construction, and road construction. In January of 1985, he joined the MN National Guard and repaired military equipment at Camp Ripley. He worked on restoration projects for the MN Military Museum in Little Falls. Arlen had military assignments in Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, South Korea, and the floods in Fargo and Warroad. In January of 2003, he was placed on active duty at Fort Carson, CO. In March, he was deployed with the US Army for Operation Enduring and Operation Iraqi Freedom for one year. In 2008, Arlen was honorably discharged and retired.
Arlen’s life was filled with family, friends, helping others, and his love of adventures in the outdoors. Arlen was known as “AJ.” He was a genuine man of few words. He expressed his love and friendship through his actions. He helped many with his talents and was not shy of hard work. AJ was a jack of all trades. He and Joleen worked together to build their home and later restored their cabin. His generosity will be remembered by all who knew him. For 22 years, he was a member of the Eagle Bend Fire Department. He volunteered at the summer festival for the Eagle Bend Lions and other community projects.
Arlen and Jo traveled the countryside in their camper while going down back roads, discovering new places, and meeting new people. His love of camping, hunting, and fishing has been passed down to his children and grandchildren. Arlen helped teach them skills in being avid outdoorsmen. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends on pontoon rides, fishing, swimming, sitting around the campfire, and watching the loons at the cabin. Arlen loved all types of hunting, but especially deer and coyote hunting with family and friends and the remarkable stories that followed. His family has spent some of the most memorable moments of their lives with him. Arlen looked forward to his annual ice fishing trip with his military buddies and enjoyed ice racing, socializing, and playing bingo.
Arlen is preceded in death by his parents, Archie and Lucille Johnson. He is survived by his wife Joleen; his children: Gary (Katie) Johnson of Deerwood, Kristi (Billy) Haehnel of Motley, Pattijo (Clifton) Nwokeuku of Eagan, Kevin (Michelle) Johnson of Foley; grandchildren: Kyle, Ryan, and Kendal Johnson, Mabel, Mavis, and Eldin Haehnel, Braeden Nwokeuku; and step-grandchildren: Jasmine, Caelan, and Devlyn Nwokeuku; siblings: Garth (Heidi) Johnson of Eagle Bend, Cindy (Howard) Webster of Webster, S.D., Roxanne (Steve) Hoskins of Alexandria and many nieces, nephews and friends.
He is missed and loved by us all.
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