Monday, 22 January 2018
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Kermit O. Johnson
March 16, 1928 - January 5, 2018





Kermit Odean Johnson age 89 was born March 16, 1928 in Luverne, MN to Ingebrit and Valentine Johnson. He grew up on the family farm near Hills, MN and graduated from Valley Springs High School in 1945 at the age of 17. He was interested in flying and immediately obtained a pilot license in preparation for military service at age 18. Three days before reporting for induction at Fort Snelling, President Truman cancelled the military draft.

After attending Nettleton Business College he began work at Central Electrical and Gas Company of Sioux Falls. That is where he met M. Charmaine Tornow. They were married on June 10, 1950 at Central Baptist Church. Kermit also worked several years for Williams Pipeline Co. and the Sioux Falls Stockyards. Then in 1960 he started a career as a guard at the South Dakota State Penitentiary. He continued working at the Penitentiary until his retirement in 1990.

To stay fit, he would regularly commute to work by bicycle. His career included chasing after escaped convicts, jumping over fences and barking dogs, and running through the back yards of houses. No one got away from Kermit. One recaptured prisoner complained “why was I so dumb to run from a guard as fit as Kermit!”

Kermit was a quiet, stoic man with a gentle loving heart. He was not afraid to learn new things. He became interested in computers in the 1970’s and continued using them daily throughout his life. He researched and created extensive records of family history dating back to the 1600’s.

For many years he served as an usher at Central Baptist Church and was an active member of the Gideon’s International. In retirement, he also faithfully attended and enjoyed the many basketball games of his grandchildren.

The evening before his death , Kermit was happily reminiscing about both the fun and crashes he had on his 1932 Harley Davidson motorcycle, as well as how proud he was to have had the opportunity to be part of the last foreign delegation to be honored at a banquet, in the Kremlin, in the Soviet Union. While there in 1991 he directly witnessed the historical collapse of the USSR and the related changes of its leadership.

Kermit is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Charmaine, and their three sons: Gary (Mary) Johnson, Houston, TX, Rick (Jan) Johnson, Sioux Falls, SD, and Scott (Kirsten) Johnson, Lester, IA; five grandchildren: Lindsay (Kelly) Marsh, Houston, TX, Shannon (Trey) Cranson, Houston, TX, Ryan (Jamie) Johnson, Brandon, SD, Jaren (Luke) Guetter, Sioux Falls, SD and Kyle (Tessa) Johnson, Champlin, MN; seven great grandchildren: Rachel Marsh, Lexie and Natalie Johnson, Leighton and Nolan Guetter, Richard Cranson and Gavin Johnson.

Kermit will be greatly missed by his family with many happy memories. He will also be remembered for the courage he showed in facing difficult health decisions at the end of life. Such courage was only possible because of his deep faith in Jesus Christ and the confidence of knowing we will meet again.

300 N Chapel Hill RD, Sioux Falls, SD 57103-1106
605-338-6551 1-877-877-3796


Member: International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association

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