FARGO-John Lohman was 21 years old when his Forum news team won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of Fargo's deadly 1957 tornado.
He spent 48 years in The Forum newsroom, ultimately reaching the post of associate editor before retiring in 2000. He also filled the role of outdoors editor for many years, a position that enabled him to pursue his love of hunting and fishing.
Lohman died Monday, May 21, at the age of 82. He is believed to have been the last surviving Forum newsroom staff member who was part of the 1957 tornado coverage, an experience that remained vivid throughout his career.
Informally, especially as the years mounted, Lohman provided a critical part of the newsroom's institutional memory. He had an extensive knowledge of North Dakota history and a retentive memory for major weather events, which at times dominated the news as residents coped with violent storms.
Lohman's path to a newspaper career was unusual. After graduating from Fargo's Central High School in 1953, Lohman earned a degree in industrial engineering and management, not journalism, from North Dakota State University. But his association with The Forum began in 1947 as a newspaper carrier in south Fargo.
While working as a carrier, Lohman reported election returns in the 1948 presidential election to newsroom staff. He then was hired as a copy boy and learned to send news stories on The Associated Press wire and how to write obituaries, sports game summaries and headlines.
As his newsroom involvement deepened, Lohman found himself increasingly drawn to news. He used to say that he loved the challenge of the next phone call. By the time he was about to graduate from NDSU, he decided to place his engineering degree on the shelf and pursue a newspaper career.
He had several reasons. An engineering degree would require him to move from the area with his family, a move that would take him away from the area's hunting and fishing haunts he had come to love. He was planning to marry Dorothy Stolp of Detroit Lakes, Minn., who was studying nursing at the University of North Dakota.
The couple married on July 13, 1962. Because of the demands of John Lohman's news jobs, Dorothy set aside her nursing career after two years to concentrate on raising their four children.
Only once during Lohman's career did a storm keep him from work, which required him to pitch in on covering storms and their aftermaths. He also prided himself on never missing a weekly outdoors column, even while on vacation, in every Sunday Forum from 1966, when his column debuted, until 2000, when he retired.
"John, like any good engineer, taught all of us who worked under him that precision was paramount," said current Forum Editor Matthew Von Pinnon, who worked with Lohman for six years. "He could be strict, but he knew his stuff and everybody respected that."
Lohman served six years in the North Dakota Air National Guard. After retirement, he and Dorothy spent time at their summer home on Little McDonald Lake near Perham, Minn., and traveled to visit their children.
Funeral arrangements are pending with Boulger Funeral Home.