Johnie Sturgeon, age 95, of Clarkfield, MN passed away on Friday, November 19th, 2021 at the Clarkfield Care Center. A Celebration of Life with military honors will be held on Saturday, June 18th, 2022 at 2 PM at Augustana Lutheran Church in Clarkfield, with visitation beginning at 1 PM. Interment will be in Fridhem Cemetery, rural Clarkfield.
Johnie Leroy Sturgeon was born on January 20th, 1926 in Montevideo, MN to John and Rachel (Ogilvie) Sturgeon. His early years were spent on a farm near Montevideo. When he was a teenager the family moved to a farm east of Clarkfield and it was there Johnie met the love of his life, Ruth Friberg. He graduated from Clarkfield High School in 1944. Johnie and Ruth were blessed with five children: Nancy, John Wayne, Marlene, Jennifer and Donavon and had just celebrated their 78th wedding anniversary on October 24th, 2021.
After graduation, Johnie enlisted in the Army and served with the 11th Airborne in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was a paratrooper and jumped 8 times during his Army career, which spanned from 1944 through 1946, before he was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant TEC 4. He played trombone in the 11th Airborne band during his time in Japan. Johnie was an active member of the American Legion for over 73 years, serving in many positions, and was the Commander of the Willmar VFW while living there.
Johnie was a hard worker, farming and working full time at AMPI and later at CENEX in Clarkfield. After moving to Willmar in the late 1970's he worked at the CENEX delivering propane. In 1993, Johnie and Ruth returned to Clarkfield to live out their retirement years. He was a faithful member of Augustana Lutheran Church, serving on several committees, boards, and ushering for many years.
Next to his family, Johnie’s love was music. He started out playing trombone in the Clarkfield High School band and shared his musical talent with family and friends for the next 70 plus years. He played and sang with “The Hollanders,” “Big Jim Band,” “Ancient Age,” “Bernette and Johnie,” “Marlowe Skaalen Band,” “Merle Petrick Band,” and “The Moonlighters.” After retirement, Johnie and friend Wayne entertained at numerous senior citizen events and nursing homes. One of his highlights was playing with son Donavon and Wayne at his grandson Josh’s wedding dance.
He will be greatly missed by his loving wife Ruth; children, Nancy (Bill) Houston, John W. Sturgeon, Marlene (Dale) Berg, Jennifer (friend Mike) Oaks, and Donavon (Laurie) Sturgeon; grandchildren, Mark (Lori), Shelley (Gordon), Joshua (Denise), Jessica (Justin), Katy (Don), Angie, Hannah and Isaac; great-grandchildren, Krista, Ricky, Abby, Gavin, Graham, Grace, Haven, Journey, Iris, Alex, Zach, Isabella, Donnie Jr, and Carly; great-great grandson, Henrik, and many nieces, nephews, and extended family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Rachel; brothers, Woodrow and Mike; sister, Ruth Lynner, and grandson, Bill Houston Jr.
Blessed be his memory. Memorials preferred to Fridhem Cemetery.