Jeffrey Duane Johnson, age 69, passed away peacefully at Elim Wellspring Health Care Center in Princeton, MN on January 12, 2023, encircled by his best friend and wife of 48 years, Trudy (Liepitz) Johnson, and two daughters, Laura (Johnson) Stelter and Diana (Johnson) Villeneuve.
Funeral services will be held Monday, January 16, 2023 at 2 PM at Zion Lutheran Church in Milaca. Burial will follow at Pease Cemetery. Visitation will take place one hour prior to the service at the church on Monday.
Jeff was born on July 31, 1953, in Milaca, MN, to Helen Jane (Van Kempen) Johnson and Duane Fred Johnson. Jeff lived with his family in Fridley, MN until they returned to Milaca in 1968. He was a 1971 graduate of Milaca High School. He won the John Philip Sousa Award in band for trumpet and performed in plays, including The Music Man, in which he played the mischievous Tommy Djilis alongside Trudy, who played Tommy’s sweetheart, Zaneeta Shinn. Jeff married his real‐life sweetheart on August 2, 1974, in Pease, MN.
Jeff was a lifelong musician who played guitar and sang nearly every day and performed for many events. He and Trudy also sang together as part of 4H Share‐the‐Fun, performing at the MN State Fair among other places. His guitar traveled everywhere with him, from high school band trips to his work with Brown‐Boveri in Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago.
Jeff enjoyed all things mechanical and electrical and was a licensed Journeyman Electrician. He worked for J.H. Electric, Brown‐Boveri, and then Northern States Power (NSP)/Xcel Energy, where he advanced over time from being a Journeyman Station Electrician to the Electrical Maintenance Supervisor at the Sherco power plant in Becker, MN. He was interested in alternative sources of energy, and later spent five years as the maintenance supervisor at Covanta’s Waste to Energy power plant in Minneapolis, MN. Changes related to Alzheimer’s disease led to his early retirement.
Some of his favorite activities included flying RC helicopters, fishing, golfing, and, of course, playing and listening to music. He especially enjoyed doing any of these things with his family. His family also appreciated his ability to fix nearly anything.
Jeff is survived by his wife, Trudy; his daughters Laura and Diana (Adam); grandchildren William Stelter, Ellie and Zachary Villeneuve; uncle Walden Johnson (Agnes); siblings Guy Johnson (Lisa) and Wendy Johnson; sister‐in‐law Charlotte (Tom) Meinz and brother‐in‐law Warren Liepitz (Judy Vanderlinden); and nieces and nephews Missi (Brent) Hanson, Ryan (Tiffani) Kacures, Kaija Crowe (Tyler Veros), Jesse Bursch, Megan Johnson, Gus (Jane) Liepitz, Karl (Britt) Liepitz, Steve (Jennie) Meinz, Kate (Dusty) Neibauer, Josh (Shannon) and Ryan (Jocelyn) Mahoney, Christina (Luke) Mahoney Boynton, and Carrie (Anthony) Schaefer; cousin Perry (Mary) Johnson; and many great nieces and nephews.
Jeff was preceded in death by his parents, Helen and Duane; in‐laws, William and Elsie Liepitz; grandparents, Robert and Myrtle Van Kempen and Linus and Emily Johnson; his sister, Rebecca (Johnson) Grahn and brother‐in‐law, Jerry Grahn; and his aunt, Shirley Johnson.