Avis Patricia Johnson, age 88, of Prior Lake, MN, passed away on June 30, 2021 at the Masonic Home in Bloomington, MN. Funeral service will be held on Thursday, July 8, at 11:00 AM at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation, 4565 Pleasant St SE, Prior Lake, with Reverend Karen Treat presiding. Visitation will be held prior to services from 9:30 – 11:00 AM. Interment Spring Lake Cemetery.
A recording of the service is available at the following link: Avis Johnson Funeral Service.
Avis was born on June 12, 1933, in Colgan, ND to Arvid and Clara (Helland) Peterson. Growing up with two sisters and two brothers, she had fond memories of the small town of Colgan. Avis was able to run around town freely and had a chance to see the Northern Lights sitting on the schoolhouse steps. Around age five, the family moved to Portland, Oregon, where they lived for three years before staying in Kalispell, MT for a year and eventually returning to their beloved Colgan. Avis liked Portland, spending time with her Grandpa Peter and Grandma Ethel, playing in the ocean where they rented seaside cabins, going to the state picnics, and riding the merry-go-round at the local carnival. Avis also learned the bible verse John 3:16 in Bible School in Seaside, OR, which became one of her favorites throughout her life. After returning to Colgan, she soon moved on to the town of Crosby to attend high school, where she stayed with Mrs. Hanmer and her soon to be life-long friends, Darlene Strandberg and Virginia Bakewell. She loved being one of ‘Mrs. Hamner’s girls’, working at the Crystal Café and ‘slinging hash’ and 5 cent coffees. Despite starting work at 6 AM, going to school, and working until midnight, Avis loved high school. She still found time for debate club and choir, enjoyed the atmosphere, studying, and the teachers in her small school of 50 kids. Avis worked hard to support herself from age 16 onwards, but still found time to enjoy her life. She had several jobs throughout her life, one of the most interesting being a telephone operator for Telephone Co.
Avis attended Minot State Teachers College for one quarter, but didn’t enjoy college. However, she liked watching the Minot Mallards play baseball, which would later develop into her love for the Twins. Avis just wanted to ‘marry a rich farmer and have 13 kids’. Eventually, she decided to cut that back to a ‘poor farmer and 5 kids’ and was united in marriage to LaVern Johnson on September 15, 1953 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Crosby, ND before being blessed with her five children. The church was an important part of their life in Crosby. All five kids were baptized there and Avis taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, “enjoying” many lutefisk church suppers along the way. As a family, they have many fond memories with the Fagerland and Strandberg families as well, combining to make one big, happy, rowdy ‘family’.
In 1968, Avis and her family moved to Prior Lake, MN. She loved the city and the state the minute they arrived, living on the lake, pulling the kids behind Snoopy the speedboat, and hosting many barbeques and family gatherings. Many fond memories were made attending the kids football games and wrestling matches. Avis also loved going on the rides at Valley Fair. She liked the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Ferris Wheel (which was the only ride LaVern would go on with her back in Crosby, ND), but her favorite was the Flume Water Ride. Avis and her family attended Shepard of the Lake Lutheran Church when they arrived in Prior Lake, which turned out to be a wonderful church over the years for the whole family.
Forever loved, Avis will be missed by her children, Bruce (Lisa) Johnson; Lori (Steve) Goodwin; Tim (Sandy) Johnson; Darcy Arone; grandchildren, Alissa (Andy) Guse, Luke Johnson, Peter Johnson, Harrison (Jessica) Johnson, Frank Arone (Ally Monson), Anthony Johnson, Robbie Arone, Grace Goodwin, Jesse Johnson, Joe Goodwin, and Maia Johnson; great grandchildren, Alex, Aiden, Adam and Addie Guse, Maverick Johnson, Cohen and Audrey Johnson; sister, Vivian Luciana; sister-in-law, Nell Peterson; and special Johnson and Peterson relatives, and friends.
Welcoming Avis home in Heaven is her husband, LaVern; son, Mike; siblings, Duane Peterson, Connie O’Brien, and Leonard ‘Lanny’ Peterson.Print Obituary & Condolences