Donald Irwin “Don” Johnson, age 87 of Black River Falls, died unexpectedly on Friday May 19, 2023, at Dove Healthcare / assisted living in Osseo, surrounded by loving family members and caregivers.
Don was born December 26, 1935, in Black River Falls to Irwin and Iola (Gilbertson) Johnson. He was a graduate of Black River Falls High School.
As a young man, Don was married to Winnie (now Miller-Hubing) but later divorced. He soon became a father of four wonderful children Brian, Debra, Brent and Lori. He started working as an “over the road” owner/operator driving everywhere in the country. Debra recalls at the age of 5 or 6 getting to go with Daddy on some of the closer trips when it was her turn.
Later after marrying ‘the love of his life’ Sharon Kay Breitenbach, she too; got her turn, as she also got her CDL license and co-drove with Don for 6or7 years before Don retired from Operator Engineers 139. Many of those years he was hauling for Hoffman Construction retiring Jan. 1, 2001.
Don was a family man. He married Sharon at their home on June 6, 1986 and were inseparable for the next 36 plus years. He loved Sharon’s children Randy and Sandy as his own and together they have been blessed with some 12 grandchildren. His favorite hobbies were going hunting and fishing, riding mopeds and playing pool and cheering on the Green Bay Packers. But his favorite memories and time spent were traveling with his wife, getting his trophy buck and teaching his children and grandchildren how to hunt and fish. He was always there to share his thoughts and wisdom, his acts of kindness, and of course his love.
Don was also very proud of his patriotic duty and served his country for ten years, from 1953 to 1963 in the Army National Guard attaining the Rank of E5. He enlisted in the Guard in Black River Falls in1953 and completed basic advance training. He was a member of Troop A, 2nd Recon Squadron, 105th Cavalry, 32nd Infantry Division and was called into active duty in 1961 for the Berlin Crisis during the ‘Cold War’. He was deployed to Fort Lewis, Washington and moved his family with him in the fall of ‘62’. The 32nd Division returned to Black River Falls, and his daughter was born in January, 1963.
Surviving Don are his wife, Sharon; their children Brian (Dawn) Johnson, Debra (Dale Bohnert) Jennings, Brent (Kelly) Johnson, Lori Johnson-Mumm, Randy (Amy) Duxbury and Sandy (Rich Hall) Hart; his 12 grandchildren Jake, Josh, Britany, Danille, Taylor, Seth, Reed, Ryan, Heidi, Ashley, Tyler and Heather; and his 4 great-grandchildren Silas, Lila, Landon and Abby. Further surviving Don are his sisters Carol Cler and Marjorie Dubois; a brother-in-law Milton Loeschmann and sister-in-law Bonnie Johnson; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Don was preceded in death by his parents; a brother John Johnson; a sister Janet Loeschmann; brothers-in-law Phillip Cler and Earl Dubois.
There will be a Visitation for Don on Wednesday May 24, 2023, from 4:00 until 6:00 P.M. at the Torgerson Funeral Home, 408 N. Water St., in Black River Falls, WI. A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday May 25, 2023, at 11:00 A.M. at Squaw Creek Lutheran Church outside of Black River Falls with a visitation 1-hour prior to the service at the church. Vicar August Hohl will officiate. Full Military Honors will take place following the service. God bless our memories of Don.
The Torgerson Funeral Home in Black River Falls is serving the family, (715) 284-4321.