Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Obituaries: Gustav Johnson

"Gus Johnson, 78 Pioneer, Died Here Friday," Decorah Public Opinion and Decorah Republican 40:15 (12 Apr 1934), pp. 1, 6. Images courtesy of Verla Williams.

Prominent in Business and Farming Circles

Gustav Johnson, one of Decorah's best known and highly respected pioneers, passed away at his home 210 E. Broadway in this city Friday morning, April 6, at 9:15 o'clock, after a short illness, having been confined to his bed for a week, his death being due to congestion of the lungs.

Mr. Johnson was born near Oslo, Norway, October 18, 1855. His parents were Andreas and Emma [sic] Johnson, who came to the United States in 1864, settling in Madison, Wis., where the son received his early education. He resided with his parents in Madison until he was fifteen years of age, but in the meantime began learning the printing trade at the age of twelve years in the office of Rasmus B. Anderson. After completing his apprenticeship in that office he went to Chicago where he was employed on the Skandinavian, well-known Norwegian newspaper of that city, for some time. After resigning his position on the Skandinavian he went to Minneapolis where he was employed in printing offices in that city, after which he went to Winona, Minn., where he worked on a newspaper, having been employed in the newspaper field for twenty years in several states, including Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. He came to Decorah in 1879 where he entered the employ of the Lutheran Publishing House, remaining with that institution for nine years. He remained a printer until 1886, when he took up farming in Glenwood township, but during the years 1905 and 1906 he came back to Decorah and worked in the Publishing House.

On October 18, 1881, he was united in marriage to Henriette O. Sander, their marriage taking place in the Lutheran church in Glenwood township. Mrs. Johnson was a daughter of Brede B. and Karen Sander, natives of Norway, who came to the United States in 1851, arriving in Winneshiek county when Decorah contained only three houses. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson took up their home on a fine farm of 147 acres in Section 21, Glenwood township, where Mr. Johnson made stock-raising the principal feature of the place, feeding all of the grain raised to his stock. He led a busy and useful life and the success he attained was the legitimate outcome of his earnest and intelligently directed labors.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson became the parents of nine children, seven of whom with the bereaved wife and mother survive. They are Charles A. Johnson, assistant cashier of the Decorah State Bank of Decorah; Emma C., (Mrs. C. D. Hexom ) Waukon, Iowa, R. F. D. 5; Lillie V., (Mrs. W. D. Williams) Decorah R. F. D. 6; Esther F., (Mrs. Stanley Ask) Mabel, Minn., R. 1; Anna S., (Mrs. C. H. Rosenthal) Decorah; William N. M. Johnson, Decorah; Arthur F. S. Johnson, Decorah, R. F. D. 6, on the home farm. Mr. Johnson is also survived by a sister Mrs. Bertha C. Sivesind of Seattle, Wash. A son George and daughter Mabel passed away some years ago.

In 1922 Mr. and Mrs. Johnson retired from the farm, removing to Decorah where the family home had since been, enjoying the friendship and esteem of all their acquaintances.

Besides looking after his extensive farm operations Mr. Johnson was called upon to officiate in various local affairs, and his influence was ever on the side of right, progress and improvement. He was elected president of the Decorah Farmers Ice Cave Creamery Co. when that well known organization opened here, remaining in that capacity until about two years ago when he resigned. He was also president of the Norwegian Mutual Protective Association of Winneshiek County, in which position he officiated until his death. For many years he was president of the Glenwood Farmers Telephone Company and for over 20 years acted as township clerk and for many years was president of the township school board.

Mr. Johnson was also highly interested in the moral progress of his community, having served for a number of years as secretary and also treasurer of the First Lutheran church of Glenwood.

Highly esteemed by his friends and neighbors, Mr. Johnson was a man who enjoyed an upright and honorable career here as a substantial, progressive, public spirited and loyal citizen. In promoting his own interests he had done much toward bettering agricultural standards and improving general conditions and his labors had been of importance in the development of his township and county. His life's record was of the highest type and he enjoyed the good-will and confidence of all who knew him, as his life had been well and honorably spent. He was a genial, courteous gentleman as his large circle of friends was evidence of and he will be mourned not only by those nearest to him but by many friends and acquaintances who had come to respect him for his sterling traits of character. He discharged every position of trust in a most highly creditable manner and his advice and wise counsel was often sought by those associated with him in a business way. In his passing this community loses a high type citizen whose memory will be long cherished.

Funeral services were held Monday afternoon at 2:00 o'clock from the First Lutheran church in Decorah, with a large number of friends paying their last respects. The pastor, Rev. T. A. Hoff, officiated and paid a fitting tribute to the deceased. Interment was in the Glenwood Lutheran cemetery.

Card of Thanks.

We are grateful to many friends for assistance and sympathy rendered in connection with our recent bereavement, the death of our beloved husband, father and grandfather, Gustav Johnson.

Mrs. Gustav Johnson, Children and Grandchildren.

Obituary. Gustav Johnson. Decorah Public Opinion (1934). Image courtesy of Verla Williams.


Decorah, Ia.--Special: Funeral services will be held Monday for Gustav Johnson, 78, who died early Friday morning at his home in Decorah following a short illness. The funeral will be held at the home at 1:30 o’clock and in First Lutheran church at 2 o'clock. The Rev. T. A. Hoff will officiate. Burial will be made in the Glenwood township cemetery.

He was known as one of the most prominent business men of this vicinity, and was closely connected with many of the leading enterprises of the city.

Mr. Johnson was born near Oslo, Norway, Oct. 18, 1855, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Johnson.

He married Miss Henriette O. Sander Oct. 18, 1881, and the couple celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary last fall. Nine children blessed their union, a daughter and a son (George) having died. Those that survive besides Mrs. Johnson are Mrs. Carl Hexom of Waukon, Charles A. Johnson of Decorah, Mrs. Walter Williams of Glenwood township, Mrs. Stanley Ask of Burr Oak, Mrs. C. H. Rosenthal of Decorah, William N. Johnson of Decorah, and Arthur S. Johnson, on the home farm. A sister, Bertha Sivesind, also survives in Washington.


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