On Aug. 15, 2021, Harvey Johnson passed away peacefully from this life to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Born Nov. 18, 1932, on a family farm in Zimmerman, MN, Harvey was raised as a devout Christian by his mother, Hattie (Myer) Johnson and father Eddie Johnson.
His father died when he was just a young boy and Harvey spent the next several years helping his mother work the family farm, where he also went on to earn his high school diploma via correspondence courses.
With his mother’s encouragement, Harvey decided to dedicate his life in service of the Lord and enrolled in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from there in 1967.
Upon completion of his first year at the Seminary and to the surprise of many, Harvey decided to put his pastoral education on hold and join the United States Marine Corps, where he served at both sea and on the island of Okinawa, Japan.
After his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, Harvey returned to Zimmerman, where he then bought and ran a full-service Conoco station.
Realizing through prayer and contemplation he still had an important calling from the Lord to serve the Church, Harvey eventually sold the service station and returned to the Seminary in Springfield, Illinois, where he went on to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Divinity. Around this time, he also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in theology from the University of Minnesota.
On Aug. 19, 1967, Harvey was ordained as a Lutheran minister at Zion Lutheran Church in Crown, MN.
On Aug. 26 of the same year, he joined in holy matrimony with the love of his life, Pauline (Smith) Johnson, to whom he was married for more than 53 years. Their 54th wedding anniversary would have taken place within 11 days of his passing.
During his career, Harvey served Lutheran congregations full time in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Texas. Following his retirement, he went on to serve numerous churches as an Interim Pastor. In total, Harvey was blessed to have served more than 23 congregations across the Nation during his lifetime.
Harvey also took great pleasure in spending precious time with his family and friends. He enjoyed tinkering on old cars, gardening, overseas travel, going to farm auctions, cutting firewood and shoveling snow with his tractor!
He also loved listening to music and frequently his favorite songs were the ones he just made up and sang off the cuff. Anyone who worked with him in his garden was often treated with one of his favorite farming songs that began with, “A sweet potato bug sat on a sweet potato vine and along came a turkey gobbler sneaking up behind!”
In later life, one of his proudest accomplishments was his apple orchard at his home in Ramsey, Minnesota. And of course, he always loved it when his daughter Rachel or others would bake him apple pies from the bounty of those trees.
Harvey never met a dog or horse he didn’t like and the feeling was mutual.
When asked many years ago by his daughter-in-law Anja how he could equally love so many children, Harvey said that each time one of his children was born his heart just got bigger.
If there was a game to be played, Harvey was always going to win it and if there was a story to be told, he told it.
As a father, Harvey went out of his way to teach his children practical skills like how to change a flat tire, spark plug or oil on their car, or how to be polite and treat people and animals with great respect and compassion. To that end, Harvey had a reverence for nature and all of God’s creatures, large or small. He often used his free time driving across the countryside admiring the beauty nature has to offer or stopping along the way to help a little critter in need.
One of Harvey’s favorite quotes was that of his father who would often say, “love many, trust few and always paddle your own canoe.”
Harvey is preceded in death by his parents, sister and 10 brothers, two of whom died at birth.
His survivors include his children John, Edward, Mary, Rebecca, Rachel and Mathew, as well as 9 grand-children and 2 great grand-children.
For those who wish to make a memorial contribution, the family asks they do so by contributing to their local church in honor of Rev. Harvey Johnson.
“For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ~ John 3:16
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