Robert W. Johnson, age 78, of Lonsdale, died unexpectedly at his home Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.
A memorial celebration of life service will take place Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 at 11 a.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New Prague, with Reverend Ben Hilding officiating.
Visitation will take place Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Bruzek Funeral Home and in the morning at church from 10 to 11 a.m.
Lunch will follow the service in the church hall.
Memorials are preferred in lieu of flowers to Duck Cup Memorial, LifeSource, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, or donor’s choice.
Due to the increase in COVID-19 and the wishes of the family, masks are strongly recommended.
Bob was born Sept. 22, 1943, in Litchfield, to Algot W. and Olga A. (Strom) Johnson.
He grew up in Dassel, graduating from Dassel High School, and went on to attend the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus. He continued his education with some course work at Dunwoody Institute.
Carpentry was in his blood from an early age and became his career. He worked for many years for Swedenborg-Shaw Construction, and more recently was an independent superintendent for numerous companies. Notably, he built numerous rides at Valleyfair Amusement Park.
His carpentry spilled over into his home life, as well, where Bob enjoyed time in his shop refinishing and restoring antique furniture, creating and building both large and small creations with an artistry that would be treasured by those lucky enough to receive them.
Bob married his high school sweetheart, Audre M. Nelson, Sept. 26, 1964, at First Lutheran Church in Dassel.
They settled in Burnsville, where their three children were born, then moved to a farm in Savage in 1984, where Bob was thrilled to have a garden that rivaled the size of their home.
They made New Prague their home in 1998, moving closer to family.
Bob was a playful, strong father, who could be occasionally stubborn, but always kind and gentle, rarely losing his temper. He had a good sense of humor and his opinions were valued and sought out.
He loved music, having been a drummer with a rock band in college, once playing live on KDWB. A classic rock station was continuously playing in his shop, and his drum set was always up and ready to go, Bob having meticulously restored it.
He enjoyed coin collecting, as well and found time to enjoy the outdoors with fishing and hunting and was a proud member of Ducks Unlimited.
Time with his own children and grandchildren, as well as the kids who “adopted” him was a cornerstone of his life. Kids looked up to him and reveled in his company, and they particularly enjoyed watching Bob’s total engrossment and raucous laughter while watching Saturday morning cartoons. The sparkle in his eyes and his chuckles will be missed by all who knew him.
Bob is survived by his wife, Audre of Lonsdale; daughter, Nicole (Brad) Schmitz of New Prague; grandchildren, Krysta Sorensen, Lucas (Hannah) Sorensen, Matthew, Emily, and Benjamin Schmitz, Jackson Johnson-Nesmoe, and Tyler and Jace Nesmoe; great-grandchildren, Liam and Joshua Jeno, Oliver Sorensen; honorary family, Jeremy Nesmoe, Tara Nesmoe-Thompson, Zach Thompson and Devin, Dylan, and Lucas Thompson; brother-in-law, Lynn Nelson of Texas; sister-in-law, Lynnette Johnson of Eagan; nieces and nephews, Cynthia (Rick) Beane, Jennifer Johnson, and Jake Nelson.
He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Jesse Johnson; daughter, Rochelle Sorensen; brother, Ralph Johnson; son-in-law, David Sorensen; and nephew, Chance Nelson.