Manuel Johnson, 1953

Spring 2021 (May 13, 2021)

Manuel Johnson

Manuel Johnson, 94, of Edina, Minn., and summer resident on Kabekona Lake, stepped into the presence of Jesus as he accepted his final pastoral call to the kingdom of God and eternal glory on Jan. 27, 2021.

Manuel was born April 16, 1926, in Highland, Wis.

He is survived by his wife, Darleen of 64 years; sons, Randy (Becky), Laurel (Annette) and Brent (Lisa); grandchildren, Lindsey Johnson ’09 (Scott), Andrew, Nicholas (Jenna), Nathan, Cory, Jesse, Kara (Adam); four great-grandchildren; sisters, Carol and Lavon (Johnson) Gardner ‘54; and AFS student daughter, Vicki Soto Brenes from Costa Rica.

He was preceded in death by parents Lawrence and Alice; brother Luther (Joyce); and brother-in-law Lenard (Lavon’s spouse).

Manuel was raised on the farm in Wisconsin and worked as a truck driver delivering ice before pursuing his calling as a minister. He graduated from Luther College (1953) and Luther Seminary (1958). His first call was to rural North Dakota at Valle Lutheran in Rolette, N.D., and Willow Creek Lutheran in Overly. Other parishes included Messiah and Our Savior’s Lutheran in North Minneapolis (1961-71), and a call to start a mission congregation between Rockford and Delano, which turned into a church in each community called Our Father’s Lutheran in Rockford, and Light of Christ in Delano (1971-84). He served as service and mission director for the ELCA, as well as interim pastor at several locations including Sedona, Ariz., Honolulu, Hawaii, and Maui.

Manuel was a people person and was driven by being with people and helping them throughout his life. His strong values of integrity, honesty and humility carried through in his relationships with family, friends and the church community. He was a wonderful father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. He loved to spend time with family and friends at Kabekona Lake in northern Minnesota. He enjoyed boating, fishing, woodworking, gardening, reading and having great conversations. He was so proud of his wife, sons, grandchildren and, of course, his John Deere. He touched the lives of many.

Services will be held at a later date due to the pandemic. Suggested memorials: ELCA World Hunger or ELCA Division of Outreach, or KLA Foundation at Kabekona Lake.