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David Virgil Johnson

April 5, 1935 — July 22, 2022

Minneapolis

David Virgil Johnson

David Virgil Johnson, Age 87, of Minneapolis, passed away on July 22, 2022. Dave was born on April 5, 1935 during a blizzard on the kitchen floor of a house on 44th and Colfax.  And so began Dave’s long life on the Northside of Minneapolis.  He grew up on 29th and Sheridan Ave N. with parents Ellsworth Sr and Helen, his sister Geraldine, and brothers Ellsworth and Duane, completing eight grade at St. Ann’s in 1949.  Dave then attended De La Salle and graduated in 1953 with two notable accomplishments.  First, he was proud that he paid his own tuition, earning money by delivering papers for both the Mpls Tribune and the Mpls Evening Star, cutting lawns, and caddying at Theodore Wirth.  Second, his performance on their football team earned him an honor (awarded much later) to the DLS Hall of Fame.  During his senior year Dave also was a TV model for Brown’s Clothing.

Continuing his lifelong commitment to education, Dave graduated from St. John’s University (Collegeville, MN) in 1958.  Again, Dave paid his own way by working at a cement factory (specializing in culverts!), as a railroad stevedore, manufacturing lawn mower housings for Charlynn, delivering packages during Christmas, in a pole yard stripping bark from trees, and bottling Grain Belt beer (close to De La Salle – probably just a coincidence!).

Shortly after graduation Dave enlisted in the Army and served two years in Korea. Since typing was a rarity he was assigned as a medic in an aid station. He married Diane Ondrey in January 1960, left the Army in March of that same year, and had his first child Martha that September.  In addition to teaching in San Antonio, he continued to work odd jobs including Boy Scout Counselor and bill collector (repossessing Kirby vacuums).  The Johnson’s then moved into the home his grandfather built in the Camden neighborhood on the north side of Minneapolis. Matt was born in 1962 and Andy was born in 1964.

Dave then taught in the Minneapolis Public Schools at Central, Vocational, Henry High School (teaching reading as part of LBJ’s Great Society), the Talking Typewriters, and the Work Opportunity Center (the old Buzza building on Lake Street) until his retirement in 1993. During that time he earned a Masters Degree in Reading from Mankato State and also continued to support his family by earning additional income as a part time Mpls Park Policeman, driving the scooters!

In his later years, Dave resided in Brooklyn Center, continued to be an active member of St. Bridget’s Catholic church on the north side, attended mass regularly, retained lifelong friendships with fellow northsiders, was a regular at the Crystal VFW, golfed at every opportunity, and enjoyed spending considerable time with his companion Katie Hammer.

He was also active in retirement, vacationing frequently in San Antonio, listening to live outdoor music throughout the cities, and spending as much time as possible with his three children and two grandchildren.

Dave is preceded in death by mother, father, brother Ellsworth, former wife Diane, and many friends. He is survived by children, Andy’s spouse Gabrielle Gerbaud and grandchildren.

The family thanks the professionals who attended to him in his final hours: Crystal and Brooklyn Center Police, EMTs, and Emergency Room staff at North Memorial.

Mass of Christian Burial Wednesday July 27th, 2022, 10 AM at Saint Bridget Catholic Church, 3811 Emerson Ave. N., Minneapolis. Visitation one hour prior. Interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David Virgil Johnson, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

9:00 - 10:00 am (Central time)

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Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

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