Two Harbors man remembered for faith and love of outdoorsMike Johnson of Two Harbors will be remembered by many for his generosity and love of the outdoors. Johnson, 57, passed away Wednesday morning as a result of injuries sustained in an accident that occurred on Highway 61 near Larsmont, his sister Sandy Morris confirmed to the News-Chronicle.
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
Mike Johnson of Two Harbors will be remembered by many for his generosity and love of the outdoors. Johnson, 57, passed away Wednesday morning as a result of injuries sustained in an accident that occurred on Highway 61 near Larsmont, his sister Sandy Morris confirmed to the News-Chronicle.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Johnson was riding his 2007 Yamaha northbound and struck a deer at around 9:26 p.m. Tuesday evening. The next morning, Johnson’s friends and family began posting messages and memories on Facebook. In an email to the Lake County News-Chronicle, his daughter, Harmony Madden, recalled a father who was a teacher and a man who cared for those less fortunate.
“Overall he had a soft spot for the down and out. He worked and Teen Challenge for some time and he preferred jobs where he was of service to his fellow man, “ she said, adding that Johnson held a bachelor’s degree in physical education and coached some of the local teams.
“He was a great coach. He coached Duluth East football, Floodwood girls’ basketball and many other sports on a short term basis. He had a knack for youth. He used to work at Northwood's Children's home.”
Madden said that her father was an avid diver and adventurer who knew the wilderness and enjoyed sharing his knowledge.
“I liked to pick his brain,” she said, “I wanted him to write a book. I wish he was going to be around to teach all of that knowledge to his grandkids.”
Morris said that Johnson had an extensive network of friends, especially in his faith community and that he was a man of profound faith, which was affirmed by many others who knew him.
“I've known Mike since I was a boy. He had a big heart, a big personality, and a deep faith — most of all, down to his core, he was a good man, wrote Duluth Mayor Don Ness. “He touched my life as he did with so many others — we've lost a good friend.”
Bay area Vineyard Pastor Gerry Cheney, who said he’d known Johnson since the 70s, described Johnson as a man “who loved the Lord and loved the outdoors,” adding that Johnson gave his time and energy to his community as well.
“When he found a cause he believed in, he threw his whole heart into it," said Cheney.
Sandi Ackerman of Duluth, who, along with husband Pete, had been close family friends of Johnson spoke to the News-Chronicle by phone to echo Ness and Cheney.
“He loved, loved, loved, the Lord and he was a very good friend. You could always call and talk to him. It’ll be hard for our family,” she said.
Johnson is survived by Madden and son, Jake, who live in the Commonwealth of Virginia son, Josh, of Duluth and five grandchildren, Ben, 5, Grady, 3, Brock, 3, Scarlett, 2, Vaughn, 20 months. His parents were Herb and Pat Johnson.