Garland "Gar" Andrew Johnson

March 30, 1941 ~ January 26, 2020 (age 78)


Garland Andrew (Gar) Johnson, only child of Julie Ann (Belan) and Andrew Johnson, was born on March 30, 1941 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.   He grew up on West River Road in Brooklyn Park.   There Gar met many of his long time friends, especially, the Muddy River Road Boys (and Girls).  He attended and graduated from Anoka High School in 1960. After graduating Gar attended the University of Minnesota and in 1964 he enlisted and served in the Naval Air Reserve for 6 years.

Gar began his career at Tennant Company in Golden Valley in June 1965.  He started in the Product Development Lab and 36 years later he retired as a Senior Manufacturing Engineer.  He worked on many Tennant machines as well as large facility projects within the company.  During his working career he was lucky to have special people who were his mentors.  After retiring from Tennant, he didn’t stop working; he became an area rep for MNDAK Distributing for 9 years. 

Gar always had a love for nice sports cars.  When he was younger he had 2 jaguars, a T-Bird, and an Austin Healy 3000 convertible.  Later in life he settled for Mercedes and VW’s.  

His experiences in the Naval Air Reserve as an anti submarine warfare crew member in the HS34 Sikorsky Helicopter and the P2V Neptune Aircraft sparked his interest in aviation.  Gar held these aviation licenses:  Commercial, Instrument, Multi-Engine, and A&P.  He owned 2 planes, a Piper Colt N5775Z and then a Beechcraft Musketeer Model 23 N2330Z.

On July 25, 1970 Gar married Ruth Ann Hillmeyer.  We made our home in Golden Valley until 1976 when we moved to our current home in Elk River.  Because of Gar’s passion for aviation, we attended the EAA Airventure in Oshkosh almost every summer. He is an official Lifetime Member of EAA.  We also spent many weekends in our cabin Gar and his Dad built on Namakan Lake.   Voyageurs National Park was created in 1975 and because the cabin was on leased land in the park we were the first to be bought out.  We searched for 3 years before we bought 3 lots on Bear (Baylis) Island on Crane Lake and built a log cabin which we enjoy to this day.  Gar was quite a builder.  He built a pole barn to house his many boats, and wheeled vehicles, 2 cabins, and a boathouse.

Gar enjoyed traveling.  We toured several countries in Europe and Scandinavia.  Alaska was one of his favorite trips.  He not only toured, but ventured there to fish for salmon and halibut.  We enjoyed family trips to national and state parks.  He enjoyed the outdoor sports of downhill skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, hiking, and boating. In his later years he became very interested in genealogy and researched his Mattson/Johnson lineage and created a nice genealogy album. This interest led to a trip to Sweden to see where his Grandparents lived in Sweden.  

Gar was active in his church, Boy Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, CAER, and EAA. 

Gar passed away peacefully at home with his family on Sunday, January 26, 2020 after a courageous 8 year battle with PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy).  He is survived by his wife Ruth of 49 years:  his children; Ryan (Elk River), Krista (Per) Gothenburg, Sweden, Dane (Margaret) St. Paul, and one granddaughter, Ruby Anne.

Gar’s Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at Elk River UCC Church on 1118 – 4th Street in Elk River starting at 11:00 with visitation 1 hour prior to the service.   Burial will be at Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN. 

Memorials to:  CURE PSP, Fairview Hospice, Elk River UCC Church

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