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Duane Johnson | News, Sports, Jobs

April 28, 1941 – December 24, 2022

Duane Johnson, 81, Minot, ND, died peacefully on December 24, 2022 at Sanford Hospital in Fargo, ND.

Duane Frederick Johnson was born on April 28, 1941 in Devils Lake, ND to Fred and Alma (Gustafson) Johnson. Minnewaukan, ND held a special place in his heart, growing up there with his parents before going to college. He attended Devils Lake Junior College and Minot State Teachers College and earned teaching degrees in biology and physical education. This is where Duane’s legacy in teaching and coaching began.

Prior to his retirement in 2006, Duane served as an educator in various communities including Powers Lake, Churchs Ferry, Havana, Midway and Minot at Bishop Ryan. He spent 42 years in education, teaching science and physical education in junior high school and coaching soccer, basketball and track and field. Duane briefly explored a different career path and worked at Gerrell’s in Grand Forks. However, this only lasted a year before he accepted a position with Bishop Ryan and found the educational community his heart longed for.

During his 33 years with Bishop Ryan, Duane adored the students he taught, the players he coached and the staff who became his family. His greatest impact was where he preferred to spend his time, on the basketball court. Duane served several years as an assistant coach, but also as head coach in two major seasons for the Bishop Ryan Lions: 1991-1992, when the Lions finished 2nd in Regionals, and 1998-1999, when the Lions finished 3rd in Regionals.

Although Bishop Ryan was very special to Duane, he will never forget his time as a teacher at Midway. It was at Midway that he met the love of his life, Roberta Albert, when she joined the Midway faculty to teach music in 1971. Less than a year later, on July 14, 1972 in Douglas, ND, Duane and Roberta tied the knot and their love story began. They laid a solid, loving foundation for their family of three beautiful girls, Kristi, Kimberly and Kelly.

Family was extremely important to Duane. He loved his wife, his daughters, his sons-in-law and his grandchildren beyond measure. Duane was always a proud father and grandfather who loved participating in activities and spoiling his grandchildren at every opportunity. He was never afraid to give them a pat on the shoulder, a handshake, a big hug, or a wet kiss on the cheek for a job well done.

Duane enjoyed being around people he cared about and loved staying active. While teaching, Duane had to spend summers as a groundskeeper for Central Power Electric in Minot. For almost 40 years he was responsible for mowing the lawns, planting and tending flowers, caring for the many evergreens on the property and keeping everyone busy.

He loved spending time outdoors and anything sport related. He spent most of his time hunting, fishing, gardening, walking in Oak Park, or playing sports and watching, unless the Cleveland Indians were playing on TV. Duane earned the nickname “Wheels” when he played softball in the Old Pro League because of his speed when running around bases.

Whenever Duane went anywhere, he met numerous people he knew. He always took the time to stop, chat, catch up on what was going on in their lives, pay attention to every detail and put a smile on their faces. He was never at a loss for words, loved to crack jokes and had an infectious laugh. Duane Johnson touched the lives and hearts of many, and all who knew him were grateful for the privilege of knowing him.

Duane is survived by his 50-year-old wife, Roberta; Daughters, Kristi (Mike) Toy, Fargo, ND, Kim (Derrick) Nelson, Pelican Rapids, MN, and Kelly (Darcy) Aberle, Bismarck, ND; Grandchildren, Kelsey, Karlie, Kyle and Michael Toy, Fargo, ND, Kirby and Kia Nelson, Pelican

Rapids, MN, and Brady and Blayke Aberle, Bismarck, ND; Schwager, Jerold (Julie) Albert, Bismarck, ND; Glen Albert, Ryder, ND; sisters-in-law, Julie (Mark) Hathaway, Bismarck, ND, Leslie (Marlin) Peterson, Bismarck, ND, and Gayle Albert, Garrison, ND; numerous nieces and nephews and numerous cousins, whom he considered to be more than just cousins.

Duane was preceded in death by his parents, in-laws Robert and Geri Albert, brother-in-law Jerome Albert, and many uncles and aunts he loved so dearly.

Visit: Tuesday, January 3, 2023 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, Minot.

Prayer Service: Tuesday, January 3, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. Christ Lutheran Church – Open to the public.

Funeral: Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, Minot.

Burial: After the funeral at Sunset Memorial Gardens, Minot.

Memorials are favored by: Minot State University – Duane and Roberta Johnson Endowment Fund, Christ Lutheran Church, Bishop Ryan Catholic School Teachers’ Endowment Fund, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

The service will be live streamed to the public and can be accessed via the Christ Lutheran Church website: https://vimeo.com/event/2746009

Those wishing to sign the online register and share memories can access the online obituaries section at (www.thompsonlarson.com).

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