Jane (Halvorson) Johnson of Willmar entered eternal life on July 21, 2019, after living a kind and compassionate life of 100 years. Her funeral service will be 11:30 am, Friday, July 26th at Calvary Lutheran Church in Willmar. Visitation will be from 5-7:00 pm, Thursday at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Memorials may be directed to Calvary Lutheran Church, Willmar. www.hafh.org
Jane was born October 1, 1918 to Arthur and Emma (Adamson) Halvorson in Willmar, Minnesota. She was the granddaughter of Willmar pioneer inventor Lars Halvorson. After marrying George Johnson on August 23, 1942, they lived in Willmar until 1952 when the family moved to St. Paul. Jane and George returned to Willmar in 1986.
Jane grew up on the north side of Willmar attending Lafayette Elementary School, participating in Girl Scouts to earn the Golden Eaglet rank, and taking frequent advantage of the tennis courts in the neighborhood to develop a love of the sport. She lettered in tennis and was on the yearbook and library staff while attending Willmar High School, graduating in 1936. Tennis was just a portion of her lifelong passion of outdoor activities which also included fishing, hiking, and traveling. Arthur and Emma took her fishing early on, and on one occasion, had her out on Lake Florida roped into the boat as life preservers were rare in the 1920's. After high school, Jane began work for Montgomery Wards at the downtown Willmar store and later at the St. Paul warehouse where she retired in 1982.
George and Jane became dedicated parents after he returned from WWII with the arrival of Gary followed by Gregg and Jolin. After moving to St. Paul, they returned for vacations at Green and Nest Lakes and the Old Mill Inn to expose the kids to the thrill of having sunfish, perch, and an occasional walleye on the line. Her excursions included fishing with family members for walleye on Lake of the Woods as well as for salmon in Alaska. In later years, one of her favorite meals was the walleye sandwich at McMillians. She enjoyed many visits from her extended family and spent numerous summers at Gary and Rita's Scandinavian Lake cabin venturing out on their paddle boat and watching sunsets from the dock.
After the kids left home, George and Jane spent many summers traveling to Colorado to camp in the high country with Gary and Rita. Together with Gregg, they all hiked trails in scenic Rocky Mountain National Park and many national forests and monuments. Being especially proud of her Scandinavian heritage, she traveled to Sweden and Norway with Jolin to find ancestral family farms and track down distant relatives. Her heritage was the foundation for a lifelong interest in cooking fine family meals and hosting Sunday and holiday dinners. Her caramel rolls, roast beef and potato dinner, chicken wild rice casseroles and apple pie will be remembered, as well as her Scandinavian dishes especially her lutefisk and lefse.
Jane never passed up the opportunity for a conversation. If you saw her at a Calvary Lutheran worship service or circle meeting, the church cemetery arranging flowers, delivering Meals on Wheels with a friend, attending a Sons of Norway Lodge meeting, or anywhere about town, you'd better be ready to update her on your family's activities, know the score of the last Twins game or who was leading in home runs.
Jane was a loving and caring mother, grandmother and great grandmother. While her kids were in school, she always had lunches ready to go and was willing to type term papers late into the night. She enthusiastically got the family prepared for excursions to a nearby sledding hill or a week-long vacation. Most importantly, Jane raised her kids to take on responsibility and grow as independent adults. When family visited, she always had an affectionate embrace, a curious ear, and a dessert to share.
Grateful for sharing her life are her son, Gregg (and Susan) Johnson of Sioux Falls, SD, grandson, Derek Hooten; daughter, Jolin (and Anthony) Barilla of Woodbury; granddaughter, Jessica (and Matt) Thorson; great-grandchildren: Juliana, Camille and grandson Thomas (and Niccole) Barilla; great-grandchildren: Riley, Lucianna, Mariano; daughter-in-Law, Lorrita (Struve) Johnson of Forest Lake; granddaughter Britta Johnson; several other relatives and friends.
Jane was preceded in death by her husband George Johnson in 1996, son, Gary Johnson in 2013 and brother: Roger Halvorson in 1994.
Everyone is especially grateful to Rita and Britta for the exceptional care they provided Jane in her final weeks, to her cousin Kay McLane who unselfishly helped her run endless errands, to her neighbor Pat Jurgenson who provided many hours of valued assistance and friendship, and to Dennis Lane, aka "The Harley Man" for keeping her driveway clear of snow. As we celebrate her life, we can take comfort in knowing she is in the company of George, Gary, Art, Emma and Roger casting a line in hopes of landing a monster walleye.