Iver Johnson


Dr. Iver Henry Johnson, age 92, passed away on Thursday June 11th at Ecumen Pathstone Living in Mankato, MN. Sadly, he lost his will to live after the death of his wife, Shirley and three months of forced isolation due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Iver grew up in Milaca, MN, graduating in 1945. He enlisted in the Army and served for two years. Iver attended Saint Cloud State University, graduating in 1951 with a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Arts. He met his wife, Maxine during college and they married in June of 1953. They had five children.

Iver and Maxine moved to Pine Island, MN in 1953 where he taught high school Shop classes. He thoroughly enjoyed teaching, especially woodworking. He was also a talented carpenter and built their home and most of their furniture.

Iver attended summer classes for three summers at the University of Northern Colorado, receiving his Master’s Degree in 1958.

In 1962 the family moved to Mankato, MN where Iver taught Industrial Arts at Wilson Campus School. In 1969 he was awarded a doctoral fellowship to attend West Virginia University in Morgantown WV. His proudest achievement was earning his Doctorate Degree in 1977. Iver transferred to Mankato State College in 1971 to be a professor. He taught classes in wood working, drafting, architectural drawing, Man and Technology, and solar energy. He mentored many of his students, maintaining lifelong friendships with some of them.

Iver and Maxine divorced in 1974 and in 1976, Iver married Shirley Patrick. They bought land in northern MN on the Whitefish chain where he designed and built a beautiful geodesic dome home where they both retired in 1989. His children and their families celebrated many memorable holidays and summer vacations there. Iver enjoyed deer hunting, fishing, golfing, boating and playing cards with his kids. He loved living by the lake and enjoyed entertaining family and friends. His children were always welcome to bring friends to visit and snowmobiling in the winter was a favorite activity.

Iver enjoyed making things out of wood and had a small business selling clocks that he made out of beautiful wood. He also made doll cradles, sleighs, quilt holders and other beautiful items for his children and grandchildren.

Iver and Shirley loved to travel. They enjoyed cruises, guided tours to many foreign countries and Road Scholar trips with friends. One of Iver’s favorite trips was to Sweden, his grandparents’ homeland. Their last road trip was to Colorado for his grandson’s wedding.

One of Iver’s great loves was being a Mason and a Shriner. He played an instrument in the Shriner’s band and participated in parades and fund raising events for the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital. He was a Worthy Patron for Shirley’s Eastern Star Order and a representative for their sister organization in Wyoming.

In 2000, Iver and Shirley built a house in the woods in Nisswa, MN. They lived there happily until 2015 when they moved back to Mankato due to Shirley’s health.

Iver is survived by children Jill (Roger) Van Cleave, Jim (Roberta) Johnson, Janet (Dan) Workman, Lisa (Tony) Clubb and David (Shannon) Johnson; sister Alma Siemers; grandchildren Josh, Justin, Kelsey, Brianna, Alyssa, Whitney,Walker, Michael and Andrew: great grandchildren Josh Jr.and Colton; step-children Barb (Harry) Ross, Deborah (Mark) Wheeler and Scott (Ann) Patrick; step-grandchildren Tiara, Ben, Erin, Michael and Justin; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife Shirley, father Andrew Edward Johnson, mother Henrietta (Korf) Johnson and sister Grace Hatch.

A private family service was held June 15 in Milaca MN, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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