Eldon Johnson 82, of Verdi, MN, died on Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Eldon Johnson 82, of Verdi, died on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Funeral service will be held on Saturday, June 9, at 10:30 A.M., at United Methodist Church in Lake Benton, MN. Visitation will be held on Friday, June 8, from 4 P.M., to 8 P.M., at United Methodist Church in Lake Benton with a prayer service at 7 P.M. Burial will be in Memorial Hill Cemetery in Lake Benton. Arrangements are with Hartquist Funeral Home Pipestone Chapel.

Eldon was born to Harold and Susie (Waasdorp) Johnson on July 11, 1935 on the family farm in the Lake Benton Township in Lincoln County. He attended school in Verdi. As a teenager, Eldon worked for Bill Willert on his farm. He graduated from Verdi High School in 1953. In April of 1953, he joined the National Guard and was active until Aug. of 1954. Eldon was united in marriage to Dorothy Rochel on Mar. 20, 1954. Eldon joined the United States Navy, enlisting on Aug. 27, 1954. He was stationed in San Diego, California where he completed boot camp and pipe fitters training. Eldon was then stationed on the USS Sperry CA -16, a submarine repair ship. He spent six months on the USS Sperry before moving to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, Calif. Dorothy joined Eldon out in California on the military base. The two resided there until 1957, when Eldon was assigned to the USS Rowan DD782. Aboard the USS Rowan, Eldon was able to visit many wonderful places, including: Hawaii, Japan, the Samoan Islands, Australia, Guam, China, and the Philippines. After his tour, Eldon was honorably discharged in July of 1958 but continued in the active reserves for 10-12 years. After his discharge, Eldon moved back to Minnesota and he and Dorothy began farming in Altona Township in Pipestone County. The couple then purchased their farm near Verdi. Eldon farmed his entire life raising hogs, cattle and sheep and grew corn, soybeans, alfalfa, oats and flax. He drove a fleet of Allis Chalmers tractors. He also worked seasonally six years for the flax straw crew near Verdi in the late 70’s. Dorothy passed away on Sept. 24, 2008. After Dorothy’s death, Eldon continued to live on their farm in rural Verdi until his death. Eldon was a member of the United Methodist Church in Lake Benton, Minnesota and the Lake Benton American Legion. As an active individual, he served on the Altona Township Board for 40 years, the Verdi School Board and various church boards. Eldon had many different hobbies throughout his lifetime. He enjoyed playing basketball through high school and his young adult life. He also played on a bowling team for many years. Eldon loved to fish and was coming up on his 60th Anniversary of Deer Hunting. For many years he hosted the annual deer hunting camp for family and friends and enjoyed teaching the grandkids how to hunt, often using his heated blind. Eldon was proud of his green thumb that he had inherited from his mom and continued to garden until the very end, putting in a few of his favorite vegetables consisting of radishes, beans, onions, peas or tomato plants. He always enjoyed playing a good card game of Pinochle or Pepper. Eldon also served as the community Santa Claus for many years and continued to dress up each year for the grandkids. Eldon will be remembered as always being a kid at heart and loved spending time with his family and friends, particularly with his grandkids, telling stories and joking with them.

He is lovingly remembered by his two daughters: Eldonna (Thomas) Hillard of Ward, S.D., and Judy (Lee) Johnson of Sleepy Eye; eight grandchildren: Krista (Shuan) Wisdom, Amanda (Benjamin) Kampmann, Jared (Vanessa) Hillard, Bradley (fiancée, Chelsey Hinicker) Hillard, Elizabeth Johnson, Katelyn (fiancée, Mitchell Ross) Johnson, Ashley Johnson, and Isaac Johnson; four great-granddaughters: Annsleigh, Maelynn, and Lamarah Wisdom, and Brystol Kampmann; three sisters-in-law: Joyce (Marlyn) Koehne of Langdon, N.D., Vida Johnson of rural Lake Benton, Alma Johnson of Pipestone; one sister; and many other loving family members and friends, including Carol Mostad of Brookings, S.D. Eldon was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy; his son, Douglas; two infant children: Wayne and Diane; two infant twin great-grandsons: Bentley and Brayden; his parents; brothers: Ivan, Leonard, Donald, and Floyd; and his sister Betty Manderscheid.