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Rodney Johnson, 70

Rodney George Johnson, 70, died May 22, 2014. He loved his family and had them with him in his final days.

Rodney was born September 22, 1943 in Roseau, the son of George and Helen (Erickson) Johnson. He was raised in Roseau where he graduated from high school. Rodney continued his education at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul where he earned degrees in Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine.

On December 17, 1966, Rodney was united in marriage to Jean Mattson in St. Paul. They were blessed with two children, Preston and Cameron. In 1970, he completed his doctorate in veterinary medicine and moved his family to Elbow Lake, where he began his career working with large animals. Swine were his specialty. In 1981, Rodney moved his family to Morris, where he started a new practice that became known as the Swine Health Center. The partnership was dissolved in 2000 and Rodney moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he became the CEO of the American Veterinary Medical Associations Professional Liability Trust Association.

For nearly 40 years Rodney had been an active member and volunteer in the American Association of Swine Veterinarians serving in a number of leadership positions. In 2009, he received the Meritorious Service Award in recognition of his outstanding service to the association. In 1985, he was the president of the AASV, having risen through the officer ranks. He was the chair of the program committee in 1984. He was the 1982 Swine Practitioner of the Year and the 1995 Howard Dunne Memorial Lecturer. His efforts on behalf of the AASV Foundation have been instrumental in raising funds through the annual auctions and golf outings. His zeal and passion for the foundation fostered the same among the association membership.

Rodney is a former chair of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Associations Political Action Committee and former chair of the swine program at the North American Veterinary Conference. He was a member of the Minnesota Academy of Veterinary Practice and the Presidents Club at the University of Minnesota. Rodney thoroughly enjoyed the work he did throughout his career.

For nearly all of his life, Rodney was also a farmer. Whenever he was needed he returned to his fathers home farm to help with the animals and the field work. Eventually Rodney and his brother Gary bought the farm, which they have continued to manage.

Rodney loved the outdoors and enjoyed fishing in the summer and winter. He and Jean bought a home in Alexandria so they could enjoy lake living. Rodney enjoyed deer hunting and elk hunting. He was an RV enthusiast. In his younger days, Rodney played hockey in Roseau and intra-mural hockey in college. He was an avid fan of the Minnesota Gophers Hockey and the Minnesota North Stars.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and son, Cameron Johnson.

Rodney is survived by his wife, Jean Johnson of Alexandria; son, Preston Johnson and wife, Sarah, of San Diego, CA; grandson, Alexander Johnson; brother, Gary Johnson and wife, Ida Mae, of Roseau; sisters, Janice Hatfield and husband, Glenn, of Walnut Creek, CA, Marie Rosenwasser and husband, Lee, of Avila Beach, CA and Sally Johnson of Greenbush; and nieces and nephews, Paul Lommen, David Lommen, Dara Rosenwasser, James Wilkus, Clark Johnson, Karl Johnson and Andrea Johnson.

A funeral service was held Thursday, May 29 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Alexandria. The Rev. Hans Dahl officiated. Music was provided by Kim Byrne and a solo by Dara Rosenwasser. Interment was at Falun Cemetery near Roseau. Casket bearers included Karl Johnson, Preston Johnson, Clark Johnson, Paul Lommen, Paul Larson and Paul Monley.

Arrangements are with Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria;