WESTBY — Harold R. Johnson, 90, of Westby died Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, at his home with his daughter-in-law by his side.
He was born March 6, 1928, to Ralph and Hulda (Blihovde) Johnson in rural Coon Valley. He went to elementary school at Erickson Grade School but didn’t finish Westby High School, so he could start working. He delivered canned milk from rural farms and after finishing the milk route, he would change boxes on his truck, drive to La Crosse and pick up cement blocks and sand and haul it to Mickelson Construction in Westby. On March 19, 1949, he married Lorraine Bjornstad at Westby Coon Prairie Lutheran Church. They farmed on South Ridge, rural Coon Valley, from 1954 to 1992 and during the later years he also did custom farming in the area. For years Harold and Lorraine put in a tobacco crop and harvested it with many family members and friends. It was not unlike him to celebrate after the harvest.
Harold was on the town of Coon board for a term and he and Lorraine were members of the Coon Valley Lutheran Church all their married lives. They enjoyed visiting relatives in the Dakotas and dancing with friends at the Concordia, or any other places with a good polka band. Harold was sometimes enticed to sing along with the band, especially on New Year’s Eve at Old Towne Inn. Harold truly enjoyed the company of his neighbors, snowmobiling and partying. In 1992, after 38 years of farming, they retired to Lorraine’s parents’ home, where they enjoyed the serenity of the outskirts of Westby. Harold needed to keep busy and so he worked for David Bean, Tri-State Breeders, did lawn mowing, tended the Westby Car Wash and sometimes hauled silage loads for the Berg Bros. He loved watching his Westerns and always enjoyed sports—especially the Brewers, Packers and NASCAR racing.
Survivors include his children, Cheryl (Ruben) Burmester of Rochester, Minn., Rodney (Nancy) Johnson of Westby, Darrel Johnson of Cashton, Laurie (Gary) Mickelson of Westby; eight grandchildren, Brian (Teresa) Burmester, Rhonda (Chris) Ackerly, Jessica Burmester, Stephanie (Jason) Berklund, Jason (Cary) Johnson, Travis (Tanya) Johnson, Jayme (Kylie) Berger and Nicolas (Lindsay) Berger; 22 great-grandchildren; a brother, Leo (Sharon) Johnson; in-laws, Bonnie Bjornstad, LeRoy Danielson; countless nieces, nephews and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Lorraine; his daughter, Jennifer; parents; brother, Orin Johnson; sisters, Evelyn Mashak, and Myra Danielson; in-laws, Joslyn and Hazel Bjornstad, DuWayne Bjornstad, Duane Mashak and Pauline Johnson.
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 1, at the Coon Valley Lutheran Church. The Rev. Julie Wollman officiated with burial in the church cemetery. The Seland Funeral Home in Coon Valley is assisting the family. Online condolences may be given at selandsfuneralhome.com.