Dennis Ray Johnson passed away on October 31, 2021 at the age of 85 at Midwest Covenant Home in Stromsburg, NE. He was born to Raymond D. and Thelma M. (Willits) Johnson, in the record breaking 114-degree heat on July 30, 1936, in Grand Island, NE. He was baptized and confirmed at Calvary Lutheran Church of Swede Home, Stromsburg, NE where he was a lifelong member.
Dennis attended country school through 8th grade at District 77 near his parents’ farm, often riding his WWII-era bicycle with little sister Carole in the front basket. He played football for the Stromsburg Vikings throughout high school, and was selected to play guard for the Nebraska All-State football team during his senior year in 1953-54. He also played football at Luther Junior College and Academy in Wahoo, NE where he received an Associate degree in 1956. Denny made enduring friendships with his classmates and his beloved Johnson and Willits cousins that lasted all of his life.
Dennis married Shari Lindgren on September 2, 1956 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Axtell, NE. They bought a farm west of Stromsburg where they raised livestock, corn, soybeans, and 2 daughters, Krys and Jill. Denny was an innovative farmer and businessman. He introduced onions and sunflowers as alternative crops when traditional crop prices dropped too low. He also developed a “Gasohol” plant on the farm in the late 1980’s to convert corn into useable ethanol fuel and appreciated the good natured teasing he received from neighbors about having an alcohol “still” in the barn.
On September 25, 2001, Dennis married Marj Swedenburg at Swede Home. Together they thought outside the box to improve farming techniques – “DJ” designed a system for underground irrigation to reduce water evaporation and erosion. He and Marj owned and managed D and M Subsurface Irrigation for nearly 20 years, installing T-tape in corn and soybean fields to irrigate at the root. Denny also had a pilot’s license – he and Marj liked to fly across Nebraska on weekends in his 2 passenger Ercoupe. They traveled to Mexico several times to relax on the beach with family and friends.
Dennis is lovingly remembered by his wife, Marj, and sister Carole (Ron) Dickson, both of Stromsburg, 2 daughters Krys (Bill) Arrick of Cripple Creek, CO and Jill (Rod) Coulter of Bixby, OK; 5 grandchildren, Matt (Chelsea Gilleran) Arrick, Jordan Arrick, Cody (Lyla) Arrick, Courtney (Daniel Feiber) Coulter, and Mitch Coulter, and 4 great-grandchildren, Tyler Arrick, Rylea and Finnley Arrick, and Elliott Feiber. He will also be fondly missed by his step-children Craig (Deb) Swedenburg and Pam (Mike) Ostransky, step-grandchildren Curt (Cara) Swedenburg, Caley (Adam) Carlson, Candice Swedenburg, Cole Swedenburg, and Jayden Ostransky; and 4 step-great grandchildren, Caleb and Carson Swedenburg, and Ava and Addison Carlson.
Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Neal Johnson, and 3 grandsons, Colin Arrick, Jonathan Arrick, and Thomas Coulter.
Services will be held at 1:00 pm on November 13, 2021 at Calvary Lutheran Church of Swede Home, Stromsburg NE, with burial of ashes immediately following the service. Guests are invited to gather in the church basement for fellowship and refreshments.
Memorials are suggested to Calvary Lutheran Church, Midwest Covenant Home, or Ascera Care Hospice. Dubas Funeral Home of Stromsburg and Osceola is directing arrangements.