Loy Theodore “Whiskers” Johnson, 85, of Crookston, MN passed away at his South Front Street home Sunday morning, August 30, 2020, with his family at his side.
Loy, or “Whiskers” as he was affectionately known, was born in Anthony Township of Norman County, near Lockhart, MN, on January 15, 1935, the son of Wilber and Gladys (Foss) Johnson. His early years were spent at Lockhart where he attended school. The family later moved to Ada, MN and he enrolled in the school system there. On March 16, 1954 he enlisted in the US Marine Corps, received his basic training at Camp Pendleton, CA, and was sent overseas to Okinawa and Japan. Following his honorable discharge Loy returned home. For several years Whiskers worked on area farms and for much of that time for the Ulseths, near Beltrami, MN, as he ran their lifter during the sugarbeet harvest. In 1963 he was united in marriage to Arlene Mulcahy Oakes. After moving to Crookston Loy was employed at American Crystal Sugar and then for Red River Alfalfa. In 1970 he began his career with the City of Crookston Street Department and became a familiar face around the community until his retirement after 28 years of service in 1998.
Whiskers was a generous man with his time and abilities who would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need of help. If anything around the neighborhood was in need of repair he was just the man to fix it, because he could fix anything and everyone knew it. From his garage workshop he once made his own hydroplane, saw mill, and log splitter; all fashioned from pieces of scrap metal found around the yard. Loy enjoyed going camping, fishing, and hunting. He was a very talented woodworker and made most of the furniture found in his home. He loved nature and the critters that came around his house, almost as if they knew that a nice man lived there who would show them kindness. Whiskers once kept a family of raccoons fed for 15 years from his back window. It was not unusual to see him bringing home an injured owl, weasel, pigeon, rabbit or squirrel. In fact he once tamed a squirrel he named “Fosdick.” Fosdick would perch on his shoulder or sometimes get in his shirt pocket just to take a short nap. His family absolutely loved his little eccentricities and knew that life with him would never be boring.
Whiskers is survived by 6 children: Connie and Harry Helenihi of Crookston, MN and Jurupa Valley, CA, Vickie and Joe Lovecchio of El Dorado, CA, Rick and Lynn Oakes and Pennie and Jim Salveson of Crookston, Randy Oakes of Rochester, MN, and Larry Johnson of Crookston. He also leaves 15 grandchidren: Yolanda Crowley, Travis and Ethan Helenihi, Chris Nelson, Nicole Garcia, Justin Brekken, Leah Oakes, Jeremy, Michael, Devin, and Jenna Salveson, Tia and Amy Johnson, Brenda Jones, and Lauren Garcia; and 10 great-grandchildren: Kolton Crocker, Keaton and Ava Oakes, Kaylynn and Helainna Bartrum, Lucas, Owen, and Caleb Salveson, and Hayden and Ariella Jones. Whiskers was preceded in death by his parents, Wilber and Gladys; and a grandson, Chad Oakes. Blessed be the memory of Loy Theodore “Whiskers” Johnson.
A memorial service for Whiskers Johnson will be held at 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 8, 2020, at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home in Crookston with Trey Everett as Celebrant. Visitation with the family will be for one hour prior to the service. Military Honors will be provided by the US Marine Corps Honor Guard and the Crookston Veterans Council.
Online registry: www.stenshoelhouske.com