Keith Johnson, 64 - Complete obiturary

Keith Douglas Johnson, age 64, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, January 26, 2018 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester. 

Keith was born on August 25, 1953 in Bandon, Oregon to Inky and Hazel Johnson. They returned to their longtime home of Benson, Minnesota shortly after his birth. While growing up, Keith embraced his love of sports by playing baseball, football, and basketball for the Benson Braves. After graduating from Benson High School in 1971, Keith attended the University of Minnesota-Morris and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English. He later earned his master’s degree in Library Media Education from the Minnesota State University-Mankato.

During his college years, Keith discovered his love for travel and adventure, which included hopping freight trains out west. He also taught himself to play guitar, mandolin, and harmonica. Over his lifetime, he became beautifully proficient at playing music, even writing and performing some of his own songs. Keith and his friend (and fellow teacher) Pat Quinn started playing gigs twenty years ago as the duo “Celtic Cat and Prairie Dog” and had been entertaining audiences young and old ever since.

The most important thing in Keith’s life was his family. He married the love of his life, Ann Nemmers, on February 26, 1983. They were blessed with four children, Geoffrey, Jenna, Maria, and Anna Rose, and have resided in New Prague since 1987. Keith loved his family and was an amazing husband, father, brother, and grandfather.

Keith was also a beloved friend. He thoroughly enjoyed keeping in touch with friends old and new. His emails were legendary, filled with writing that was funny, thoughtful, and observationally acute. Receiving a long email from Keith was like opening a Christmas present, cherished by its recipients.

Keith was a Library Media and Technology Director in the New Prague, Hopkins and Bloomington Kennedy schools. He coached students in a variety of sports and taught students to play guitar in the guitar club he founded. His love for reading, writing, and technology melded beautifully with his 29-year teaching career. 

Over the last 22 years of his life, Keith stoically battled through numerous health challenges with grace and a strong survivor’s will. He relied on our Lord Jesus as his life’s compass and never complained about the course of his journey. 

Keith is survived by his loving wife, Ann; children, Geoffrey, Jenna, Maria, and Anna Rose; son-in-law, Joel Neumann (Jenna); granddaughter, Isla Martin (Maria); siblings, Craig (Bonny) Johnson of Bloomington, Raymond (Jane) Johnson of Morris, Wanda Philbrick of Benson, Dana (Mary) Johnson of Fargo. He is preceded in death by his parents, Ingvald and Hazel (Fiebelkorn) Johnson.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 11:00 AM at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church with Father Kevin Clinton officiating. Visitation will take place Wednesday from 4:00-8:00 PM and Thursday morning from 9:30-10:30 AM at Bruzek Funeral Home. Lunch will follow Mass at the KC Hall.

 bruzekfuneralhome.com

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