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Published April 24, 2013, 12:00 AM

Gene J. Johnson

Gene J. Johnson, age 82, of rural West Fargo, ND died Monday, April 22, 2013 at Veterans Administration Hospital.

Gene was born on February 21, 1931 to Ralph and Inez (Wieck) Johnson in Ypsilanti, ND where he grew up and graduated in 1949, spending some of his teenage years in Long Beach, CA.

Gene J. Johnson

Gene J. Johnson, age 82, of rural West Fargo, ND died Monday, April 22, 2013 at Veterans Administration Hospital.

Gene was born on February 21, 1931 to Ralph and Inez (Wieck) Johnson in Ypsilanti, ND where he grew up and graduated in 1949, spending some of his teenage years in Long Beach, CA.

He served in the Army from 1951 to 1953 in Korea as the Forward Observe directing naval artillery and Communications Specialist and quickly rose to the rank of Sergeant. Upon discharge he managed a gas station and bulk fuel supply and a grain elevator in Marion until to 1959. On June 13, 1954 he married his best friend for life, Norma Kluever from Grand Rapids, ND. He entered service with the North Dakota Highway Patrol in 1959 and was stationed in Cando, Devils Lake, and Fargo, retiring in 1989 as District Sergeant. In 1971, Gene and Norma purchased and managed C&C Market in West Fargo, an endeavor that helped to feed their family of eight kids until his retirement in 1984.

Gene served his community his entire life, serving in leadership roles in most every organization with which he was involved. He served as Chairman of the Reed Township Board, President of ND Peace Officers Association, founding member and Manager of West Fargo Airport Authority, founding member and President of Cass County Cowboys 4-H Club, founding member and President of Sheyenne Red River Rodeo Club and announcer for the annual high school and junior high rodeos, President of Golden K. Kiwanis Service Club, founding member and board member of the North Dakota Horse Park Foundation, founding member and board member of Horse Race North Dakota, member of the Red River Saddle and Harness Club, Retired North Dakota Troopers Association, and Harwood American Legion.

Gene was an active member of Maple Sheyenne Lutheran Church, serving on the Council and Cemetery Board. As a Lay Pastor, he could be heard many Sundays leading worship. He volunteered his time mowing the church lawn and cemetery for many years, and frequently volunteered to serve meals at Churches United for the Homeless.

Gene was quite a man. He always had a smile on his face and a quick wit that made you laugh. He made everyone he met feel like his friend. He enjoyed fishing in Canada, riding horseback with pack mules in the Montana mountains, grilling brats after a morning ride in the Lisbon sand hills, baling hay, driving the pontoon on Lake Lizzie, and playing Rummikub with Norma most every evening. He could fix just about anything and was always willing to lend a hand. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends, including his horseback buddies, fellow troopers, and his racquetball, bingo, card playing, and bowling friends.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Norma; his daughters Vickie (Gerald) Buchli of Devils Lake, ND, Carrie Ramberg of Downer, MN, and Bonnie Peterson of West Fargo, ND; his sons Michael of West Fargo, Steven (Lori) of Horace, ND, Tracey (Sheila) of Tuttle, OK, and Kevin (Sonya)of Reile’s Acres, ND; siblings Babe Draheim of Brookings, OR and James Johnson of Copperopolis, CA; 14 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and his daughter Pollie.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to be given to the Maple Sheyenne Endowment Fund, 8711 40th Ave N, Harwood, ND 58042.

Visitation: 5-7pm Thursday, April 25, 2013 at West Funeral Home in West Fargo with prayer service at 7pm

Funeral: 10am Friday, April 26, 2013 at Hope Lutheran Church, South Fargo

Final Resting Place: Maple Sheyenne Cemetery, Harwood, ND

Arrangements: West Funeral Home in West Fargo

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