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Grand Forks, N.D. - James R.  Johnson, 90, Grand Forks, N.D. died Sept. 23, 2012, at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, surrounded by his family.  
James was born in the Hallock Hospital June 23, 1922 to Percy J. and Gerda Maria (Wass) Johnson. He was baptized and confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church in Lancaster, Minn.
The family moved to Grand Rapids, Mich. when he was four years old and he attended school there through the fourth grade when the family moved back to Lancaster and became small dairy farmers on the Wass homestead two miles north of Lancaster. He had five years of vocational agriculture, played on the basketball and football teams and was the business manager of the school paper and graduated from Lancaster High School in 1940.
Jim worked for his uncle Gottfrid Wass in construction for two summers while in high school. The day after graduating he began work at the Hallock Creamery, owned by his uncle Gunnar Wass, and became an owner in 1947, adding to his ownership in 1954. He was the sales manager and became a butter and ice cream maker and became the manager in 1951.
While living in Hallock he was active in the American Legion, Lions, business and professional men's association and a member of the volunteer fire department serving as chief for the last five years he lived there. He was active in Boy Scouts for 12 years serving as committee man, member of the Lake Agazzis Council and sometimes as scoutmaster or assistant scoutmaster.
He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church and served on council and as stewardship chairman and helped raise the money for the new church. He sang in the choir, taught Sunday school and an Adult bible class. He was also a refrigeration serviceman for the Creamery and the wholesale customers as well as doing some household refrigeration work.
In 1942 he met Leona M. Perry of Barboursville, W. Va., a niece of Andrew Clay, and they were married Sept. 20, 1942. They celebrated their 70th anniversary together at Altru Hospital. To this union four boys were born. James Robert (Bob) 1944, Donald Perry 1947, William Clay 1956, and Paul David 1959.
Jim was drafted into military service in November of 1942 and served three years in the Army Air Force as a camera repairman. He became a Technical Sargent and was the non-commissioned officer of the 20 man camera repair section in the 13th Recon Sq. He was honorably discharged in 1945 after serving the previous year in Italy.
The family lived in Hallock until 1965 when they moved to Roseau for two years as the Lutheran Brotherhood r. He moved to Grand Forks, N.D. in 1967 to be the assistant general agent as well as a representative for Lutheran Brotherhood. Jim was active in the National Association of Life Underwriters of Grand Forks as an officer, a moderator of the training courses of the Life Underwriters Training Council. He was the Life Underwriter of the Year for Grand Forks in 1975 and 1980. He was active in the Fraternal Congress of N.D. and served as an officer and was the North Dakota Fraternal Counselor of the Year in 1983. He completed courses from the American College and became a chartered life underwriter in 1974 and a certified financial consultant in 1982.
He retired in 1987 and became a wood carver and did some woodworking. He assisted his son Paul in building a new house in 1998 and worked many hours on the refurbishing of Augustana after the 1997 flood. He was an active member of Augustana Lutheran Church serving a term on council and as stewardship chairman for about 35 years. He organized and served on the Outreach Evangelism Committee for about 10 years. He sang in the choir until 2009 and was a leader of the men’s bfor over 40 years.
Jim is survived by his wife, Leona; his sons, Bob (Lois) Johnson, Don (Penny) Johnson, Paul (Elaine) Johnson, and daughter-in-law, Margaret (Bruce) Asleson; eight grandsons and two great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his son, William Clay; his parents, Percy and Gerda; and sister, Clarice.
Funeral services were held Sept. 29, 2012 at Augustana Lutheran Church in Grand Forks. Interment was in Greenwood Cemetery, Hallock, Minn.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to Augustana Lutheran Church.
A guestbook may be signed at www.amundsonfuneralhome.com.

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