James Johnson
James Johnson
James 'Jim' Johnson

Aug. 1, 1932 - July 19, 2017

Mr. James "Jim" Johnson, 84, Rochester, was surrounded by his loving family when he passed away at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at his home.

On Aug. 1, 1932, James was born in Egeland, N.D. He was the treasured son of Axel and Lilly Haller Johnson. Growing up as the firstborn, he shared his childhood as one of 13 children. Following high school, patriotism beckoned. Jim answered the call serving with the United States Army during the Korean War.

In Argos, on April 28, 1973, Jim married the love of his life Winette Eriks. They shared 44 years of life's adventures. Jim was a life member of the Manitou VFW Post No. 1343. He was a member of the Leroy Shelton American Legion Post No. 36 and a Golden Eagle at the local Eagles Fraternal Lodge.

A farmer from Richland Township, Jim oversaw a fine herd of more than 75 Holsteins and a daily milking operation for nearly a quarter century from 1975-1997. Each spring, he planted a garden of a .25 acre, creating a bountiful harvest for Winette who canned and froze the produce for their family's winter use.

An American outdoorsman, Jim embraced nature, whether it was hunting deer in Indiana or elk in Utah or Oregon. He was a friend of domestic birds, feeding and observing their habits in his front yard. As adventurers, Jim and Winette boarded his motorcycle and headed west to Oregon. His favorite motorcycle was his tan-colored Honda Aspencade.

Left to cherish the memory of Jim are his wife, Winette; a daughter, Joni Thiry, Rochester; five sons, Dwayne VanderWall and wife Beth, Rochester, Jeff Johnson, Mentone, Todd VanderWall and wife Kathy, Rochester, Jerry Johnson, Warsaw, and Scott VanderWall and companion Amy Burkett, Rochester; 17 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and his canine companion, Abby the apricot miniature poodle.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, three sisters and nine brothers.

A public graveside service for James Johnson will be at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 24, 2017, at the Richland Center Cemetery with Chaplain Jason See officiating. Military honors will be conveyed by the Fulton County Veterans Honor Guard and the United States Army Honors Team. Friends are invited to gather at the Johnson family cabin at noon following the graveside service Monday for food, fellowship and remembering the good times shared.

In lieu of flowers, Jim's family prefers memorials to the Fulton County Animal Adoption and Education Center, 1540 Wentzel St., Rochester, IN 46975, or the Great Lakes Caring Hospice Foundation, 900 Cooper St., Jackson, MI 49202. Good Family Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements. Electronic expressions of sympathy may be made to his family at www.goodfamilyfh.com.