Irving Arthur Johnson age 89, formerly of Makinen, MN passed away Sunday, July 4,
2021 at Edgewood Vista Assisted Living in Virginia, MN. Irving was born July 11, 1931
in Duluth, MN to Olaf and Mimmie (Swanson) Johnson.
He served proudly in the United States Air Force from 1950 to 1953 in the Honor Guard
and as a locomotive engineer. According to Irving he had the “time of his life” while
stationed in Africa. On July 20, 1953 Irving was joined in marriage to Mary Lou Carlson
and they were about to celebrate 68 years of marriage! In 1960 Irving and Mary Lou
moved to Makinen, where Irving and his friends founded the Volunteer Fire Department
and built the Town Hall with their own labor and community raised funds. He was a
heavy equipment operator and highway foreman for St. Louis County where he spent
many solitary days and nights being called out to keep the roadways passable and safe.
Always a man providing his family a better life, after his “day job” he drove specialty
and hazardous cargo 18-Wheelers for Kirscher Transport over the course of three decades
during nights and on weekends. He was especially proud of being accident free after
driving millions of miles!
Irving carried a quiet strength leading by example rather than spoken words. He enjoyed
hunting at the shack in Canyon, fishing with his sons, bowling with Mary Lou, tinkering,
woodworking, gardening and had a special place in his heart for his daughter Linda.
Mary Lou and Irving were Winter Texans for many years in Alamo, TX where they
enjoyed close friendships, card games and banter. A hamburger, Taco Tuesday and soup
night were always on the schedule.
Irving was preceded in death by his mother Mimmie, father Olaf, and two stepfathers
John Lindelof and Einar Lindelof, brothers, Delbert Johnson and Jack Lindelof, and one
infant sister Linda Lindelof. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou, children, Steven
(Holly) Johnson, Cotton, MN, Linda (Robert) Schrautemyer, Meadowlands, MN, Scott
Johnson, Eagan, MN and Dan Johnson, Canyon, MN, sister-in-law, Joyce Johnson,
Makinen, MN, brother-in-law Richard (Judy) Carlson, grandchildren, Amanda Yeater,
Mary (Bryan) Kivi, Wesley Johnson, Kristen (Jared) Kozumplik, Emily Johnson and
great-grandchildren Jay, Eli, Brett, Bruce, Diana, Tenley and Nico Irving. His many
nieces and nephews always knew him as “Uncle Sonny” or “Uncle Irv”. Special thanks to
Irving’s caregivers as well as Gayle VanGuilder and granddaughter Emily who comforted him in
his last moments of life.
A celebration of Irving’s life will be held 90 years from his day of birth on Sunday July
11 th , 2021 from 1 to 3 pm at Edgewood Assisted Living in Virginia. Interment with
military honors will be at the Northland Cemetery in Canyon at a later date.