Al Johnson, 62, of Walhalla, ND, passed away Wednesday, May 3, 2023 in Phoenix, AZ. Funeral service will be held Friday, May 12, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at the Walhalla Lutheran Church, Walhalla, ND. Visitation will be held on Thursday, May 11, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the church.
Al Russel Johnson was born March 5, 1961 to Bert and Betty (Patterson) Johnson and grew up in Walhalla, ND. He was the only son sandwiched between an older sister, Lynnell, and twin sisters, Sandy and Susie, 17 months his junior. Al’s childhood was spent with cousins, night yard games, bike rides to the swimming pool, exploring the river bottom, and racing around on his mini bikes. He was a very active child and often gave Betty a scare or two. Al was a risk taker, an adventure seeker, and loved pushing to the edge. He could always be found right in the middle of the adventure, some good and some bad. There was a time in 8th grade when Al had broken his leg, but this didn’t slow him down, a week later while out trick or treating he broke the other one. This meant both legs in casts at the same time. Betty always said, and you can confirm it with her prayer partners, she spent a lot of time on her knees for Al. Betty was a woman of faith and taught Al at a young age about the Lord, something that never departed from Al’s heart even during the many trials of his life.
Al graduated from Walhalla HS where he participated in basketball, football and track. On weekends he would ski out at Frost Fire Mountain. He was very active and enjoyed team sports. He was chosen to play in the Shrine All Star football game the summer after graduation and continued playing football at Dickinson State that fall. After spending two years in Dickinson, Al returned home to Walhalla to farm with his father, Bert Johnson.
Al put down deep roots in Walhalla. He married Kim Susag in 1989 and they started a family. The Lord blessed them with three healthy children: Max Bert, Sam Al, and Tess Michelle. The children were a beautiful addition to Al’s life and they brought him great joy over the years. Al always dreamed of one day working side by side with his boys, a dream that did come true. Al was equally pleased when after Tess grew up, she moved back to the area working in the family bank under the charter that Grandpa Bert had acquired. Life had come full circle.
Over the next 30 years, Al worked hard and immersed himself in the family business of Johnson Farms, with his dad and Uncle Lyle. The farm was his life. His beginning role was out in the fields working the land, interacting with the other workers, checking potato bins, loading rail cars, cultivating, planting, fertilizing, harvesting, trucking, and enjoying being outside and busy. As time progressed, Al did more shipping and selling of the crop. He was on the board at the Walhalla Grain Elevator. After his father, Bert, passed away, Al began an additional farming operation with his cousin Kenny Johnson.
Al raised horses and loved to ride. He loved fishing but a busy life allowed for very little time off. Al was on the church Council of the Walhalla Presbyterian Church, where his great-grandfather Pastor Davidson was on the pulpit for many years.
Al is survived by: Sam Johnson, Walhalla, ND, Tess (David) Smiley, Grand Forks, ND; Grandchildren Toby and Ty Johnson (father Max), Kane Smiley (mother Tess); three sisters: Lynnell (Rod) Stegman, Sandy (Tim) Crary, Susie (Paul) Sproule; Significant other: Angie George; many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his son Max Johnson, his parents Bert and Betty Johnson, and his children’s mother Kim Susag Johnson.
Please direct memorials to Walhalla Presbyterian Church.
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