Patricia “Pat” Lee Johannson, 85, longtime Crookston, Minnesota resident, passed away January 14, 2022, at the Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, ND while being held in love and comfort by her children.
Pat was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota on October 4, 1936, the daughter of Arthur and Juanita (Harris) Johnston. She was baptized and confirmed in the Methodist faith, and grew up in Cavalier, ND. Patty became a big sister to brothers, Richard and Robert, five years later.
From her mother “Nita,” who she loved and emulated her whole life, she inherited an ability to combine grace and class with a fun, mischievous sense of humor. She also learned a great deal of common-sense practicality, including the business of potato farming from her beloved Father, Arthur.
Growing up, Patty loved listening to her favorite radio programs, learned piano and, later, saxophone, and participated in every kind of youth, church and school activity imaginable. At a very young age she displayed her great gift for friendship, making lasting and cherished friends through every new stage of her life.
Pat arrived on the campus of the University of North Dakota in the fall of 1954. She loved college and immediately became a very active student both socially and academically. She joined the Delta Gamma Sorority, became involved in student government and embraced many activities and opportunities. She had an adventurous mind and spirit and spent the summer of 1957 traveling across Europe with a few close girlfriends, which was an experience she spoke fondly of for the rest of her life. In the spring of 1958, she received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
It was also in college that Pat met and began dating Ken Johannson, a fellow junior at UND. They eventually fell in love and she happily agreed to share her life with him. Patricia and Kenneth were joined in marriage on August 15, 1958, at the First Methodist Church in Cavalier, ND. After spending their honeymoon in Manitoba, they moved to Crystal, Minnesota and then within a few months to Toledo, Ohio, where Pat became an assistant buyer with LaSalle’s downtown department store.
After a year in Toledo, the young couple decided the best decision for them was to return to UND, and Pat supported them both by taking a position at The North Dakota State Mill in Grand Forks while Ken attended law school.
Pat and Ken moved into married student housing, and it was there in November of 1961 that they welcomed a son, Tommy, into their lives. Pat and Ken ultimately decided to make the move to Crookston, the community that would become the anchor of their lives and family.
When the young family arrived in Crookston, they immediately embarked on an active social and civic life in their new community. Pat and Ken joined Trinity Lutheran Church, where she was an active member for nearly 50 years. She was also an active member of Agassiz’s, Blue Line Club, Meals on Wheels, Jaycees, Matrons and many others.
Pat’s family was growing and over the next few years, Pat and Ken welcomed daughter, Kirsten, and sons, Douglas and David. Pat was very involved in her children’s youth sports and activities and the home she created for them was a constant buzz of activity. She was a “hockey mom” before anybody thought up the term.
Pat and Ken bought a small cabin on Lake Bemidji in 1973. Pat loved being on the lake with her family and encouraged her children to take advantage of the carefree summers before it was time for grown-up responsibilities. It was around this time that Pat and Ken first visited Lahaina, Maui, where they instantly fell in love with the town and the Island, returning year after year for rest and relaxation.
Pat was an amazing host who loved entertaining and was an extraordinary cook. Everyone was welcome at Pat’s table and her Kelly-Green kitchen seemed like Grand Central Station, from morning coffee with her gal pals, to hosting large dinner parties for her friends and their families.
Pat’s interests were wide ranged; she loved art of all kinds, literature, music, live theatre, especially musicals, and made annual trips to see the Metropolitan Opera. She loved crossword puzzles and going to greenhouses to plan her flower gardens. She enjoyed dressing formally for fine dining or dance club but also loved finding any reason at all to put on a silly costume to celebrate almost anything. She loved Christmas and went all out to decorate her family’s home to celebrate the season.
Pat was a voracious reader who donated literally thousands of books to the Polk County Library over the years. She also possessed an effortless creativity that led people to ask her to write humorous lyrics to old songs for someone’s special occasion or an event.
She was also a dangerous, mind-reading card shark. She could play anything well, and while she especially enjoyed cribbage, her real love was Duplicate Bridge. In addition to being a decades-long member of and frequent host of Bridge Club she and other skilled local players would travel to compete in regional tournaments.
Pat’s wit, warmth and infectious laughter led her to become something of a favorite for many of her children’s friends. They would often insist she be woken up to join them at her kitchen table after a late evening out because they were dying to tell her all about it and hear what she had to say and laugh along with them. It was also a commonplace, exasperating, but bemusing experience for her children to discover that one of their friends had spent 20 minutes happily chatting with her before even bothering to ask if they were home.
After they retired, Pat and Ken began spending winter months in their home in Goodyear, Arizona. She developed so many new friendships when she and Ken joined a new church and her lifelong love of playing cards led her to a community Mahjong group. She was so delighted to be able to spend more time with her younger brothers, Richard, who lived in the same development, and Robert, who was able to visit frequently.
Pat leaves her family and many dear friends with so many loving memories and of course many great Pat stories featuring a lot of laughs and maybe some crazy antics. She loved fun, good company, and even better conversation. She was one of the proud founders of the “Fine Arts Club,” an important and serious discussion group of local like-minded women. The meetings were always held on a Wednesday, and were all about friends, fun and near constant (loud) laughter. It continued for decades.
Patricia leaves her three children: Kirsten Johannson of Fargo, ND, Douglas Johannson of Woodbury, MN, and David (Dianna) Johannson of Shoreview, MN; two very dear grandchildren, Jack Arthur Johannson (15) and Winter Rose Johannson (8); brothers, Richard Johnston and Robert (Terry) Johnston; nephew Corey (Renee) Johnston and Rob Johnston; and nieces, Susie Johnston and Heather Johnston.
Pat is preceded in death by her beloved husband of 63 years, Kenneth Johannson; parents, Arthur and Juanita Johnston; parents-in-law, Frank and Ina Johannson; her precious first-born child, Thomas Arthur Johannson; and nephew, James Johnston. Our family is heartbroken, and we will miss her presence in our lives every day. We also rejoice and give thanks that she has been reunited with Dad, Tommy, and all those friends and family members who have been waiting for a card game and a laugh.
A joint Memorial Service celebrating the lives of Patricia and Kenneth Johannson will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, May 13, 2022, in the Trinity Lutheran Church, Crookston, MN, with The Rev. Greg Isaacson, officiating. Visitation with the family will be for one hour prior to the service. Livestreaming will be available by going to the obituary page for either Pat or Ken and clicking on the prompt to view. Inurnment will take place in the Oakdale Cemetery Columbarium.
Messages of condolence may be made at www.stenshoelhouske.com