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George E. Johnson, 69

George Ellis Johnson, age 69, of Longview, WA, was called to his heavenly home Saturday, March 14, 2009.

He was born Feb. 23, 1940, to Ellis Walter and Ida Delores (Kallio) Johnson, in Santa Rosa, CA.

George graduated from West High School in Minneapolis in 1959.

He met his wife, Joyce Anna (Greku) at St. John’s Services. They were married April 16, 1960, and had 47 wonderful years together. To this union, 11 children were born.

George was a self-employed painter. For the last 14 years, he spent three to four winter months working in Arizona (he called Arizona his second home).

He was a lifetime member of the Laestadian Lutheran Congregations.

George was preceded in death by his parents; brother Robert; grandson Grant Clarke; and his dear wife, Joyce, in May of 2007.

He is survived by his 11 children and their spouses: Joann (Rick) Clarke of Longview, WA; Vickie (Phil) Janckila, Dean (Tammy), all of Cokato; Karen (Jim) Lever of Standwood, WA; Dave of Kimball, Arlene (Jarl) Niemela of Snohomish, WA; Carol (Jarrett) Gilmer of Hutchinson, Sandra (Randy) Fehn of French Lake, and Christine, Rebecca (Neil) Roberts, and Eric, all of Phoenix, AZ.

He is further survived by 50 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; his brother, Walter (Annette); sister Dorothy Rice; and in-laws, Helen and Ruben Mytty, Pearl and Pete Johnson, and Carl and Linda Greku.

George was deeply loved and will be missed by his family, many friends and relatives. Through thoughts, prayers and memories, they will “keep in touch.”

The funeral service was Saturday, March 21 at 11 a.m. at the Laestadian Lutheran Church of Cokato, with visitation for one hour prior to the service. Pastor Brian Johnson officiated, with music provided by Heidi Torola. Interment was in the Cokato Finnish Cemetery.

Casket bearers were Dean Johnson, Anthony Janckila, David Johnson, Adam Janckila, Eric Johnson, and Austin Clarke.

Arrangements were by the Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato.