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Dennis Johnson, 65

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Dennis Johnson, age 65 of New Hampton, died Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, at MercyOne Medical Center in Des Moines. 

Friends greeted the family from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton, where there was a 6 p.m. memorial service with the Rev. Sue Cira officiating. 

Dennis was born on Sept. 3, 1956, to Calvin and Leona (Hurd) Johnson in New Hampton, where he grew up with his two sisters. He was baptized at Reilly Ridge Catholic Church on September 16, 1956. 

He received his education at New Hampton Community Schools, and he played football and basketball and was a member of the Class of 1974. After graduation, he attended North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, where he completed the refrigeration program. 

When he was in school, he rode the same bus as Linda Flatjord, but since she was three years younger than him, they didn’t really connect. But one night after both had finished high school, the two met at the Brite Spot, and a spark was lit. They began dating, fell in love, and were married on Dennis’ 27th birthday, September 3, 1983. 

Their family grew to include three children — Aaron, Jared, and Megan — and they have many fond memories of their father growing up. Many of them center around the weekends they spent in “The Pines” north of Jerico, where the family camped, played water volleyball, and fished in the pond. 

After graduating from NIACC, Dennis worked at Sara Lee in New Hampton and then took a job at Arnold Cattle Company before spending 27 years at Boos Implement, where he worked in the shop and farmed. He later worked at Five Star Coop and for Jim and Julie Eckenrod before retiring five years ago. 

He enjoyed fishing and took several trips to Canada, where he landed more than a few “big ones.” He also loved to hunt deer and pheasants. 

Dennis’ kingdom, though, was his garage at his home on Wilson Street, where he often held court. He was a straight shooter who loved to tell it the way it was in the garage that was graced by a sign that said: “It’s All About Me!” You knew exactly where you stood with Dennis, and as one friend put it, “Wilson Avenue won’t be the same” without him. 

He liked to give his dogs — first, Peanut, the “mutt of mutts” and then Callie — grief, too, but deep down, he really was their best friend and they loved him right back. 

But the real apples in his eyes were his four grandchildren — Autumn, Hudsyn, Macklyn, and Violet. He loved being a grandpa, and as his daughter put it, “Dad got his spark” from his four grandchildren. 

Dennis was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church. 

His death came too soon, but he leaves behind an abundance of memories that his wife of 38 years, his children, his grandchildren, and his friends will treasure for the rest of their lives. 

Dennis is survived by his wife, Linda of New Hampton; his two sons, Aaron (Gretchen) Johnson of Jerico, and Jared Johnson of New Hampton; his daughter, Megan Verhalen of Clear Lake; his four-grandchildren, Autumn and Violet Johnson and Macklyn and Hudsyn Verhalen; his step-mother, Bernice Johnson of New Hampton; and two sisters, Jill Huber of Rochester, Minnesota, and Sue Reicks of Decorah. 

He was preceded in death by his parents.

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