Susann H. Johnson


Susann Harriet Brakken was born August 4, 1927, the second daughter of Samuel and Hellen (Welta) Brakken, in the house that her grandfather built on the east side of Lake Ida. A neighbor lady helped Susann’s mother with her birth. Susann was baptized on October 30, 1927, at the Norwegian Lutheran Church by Pastor C.E. Hansen, and confirmed by Pastor Hansen on May 24, 1943, at that same church. She grew up during the Great Depression and remembered how dry it was. The wind would blow sand up around the porch steps. They were farmers so, thankfully, they always had enough to eat.

Susann (Sue) attended country school District 36 through the 8th grade, walking the six miles round trip on County Road 34. Cold, snowy weather and the neighbor’s bulls would sometimes make the walk more adventurous. It was quite different when she was able to take the bus to Central High School in Alexandria for her 9th grade year.

Sue was almost 14 years old when her mother died in 1941. She had to drop out of school and stay home to “keep the home fires burning.” She learned to milk cows by hand, drive horses pulling a hay rack, feed pigs, chase cows, cook, clean, wash clothes and become the surrogate mom for her toddler brother Jim who was just 3 years old. Around 1946, Sue’s dad made arrangements for her to complete her education and she enrolled in the Morris Agricultural School. Classes were held from October through March so students could be home for planting and harvest. Sue attended for two years and graduated in 1949.

Sue married Loren Johnson on September 24, 1949, which she often said was one of the best things she ever did. While growing up, Sue didn’t have many opportunities to attend church, but this all changed after she got married. Loren was very active in his church. Worship and Sunday school for the children was a normal and natural activity every week. Sue was involved with WELCA and Bible studies, and taught Sunday School when her children were young. She was an active member of First Lutheran Church for her entire life.

Sue and Loren were blessed with three children, Charles, Patricia, and Larry. They were lifelong residents of Alexandria and enjoyed spending time with relatives and friends. They liked old time dances, playing cards such as whist and Pedro (Cinch), and the whole family would attend Minnesota Twins baseball games at the old Met Stadium, the Metrodome, and Target Field.

Susann passed away on January 26, 2023, at Alomere Health in Alexandria at the age of 95. She was preceded in death by her parents, Sam and Hellen Welta; sister, Gretchen Engstrand; husband, Loren in 1986; and son, Larry in 2006. She is survived by her son, Chuck (Iris) Johnson; daughter, Pat Johnson; daughter-in-law, Lu Johnson; grandchildren, Brett (Diana) Johnson, Nathan Johnson, Lacey (Adam) Baumann, Lindsey (Randy Knott) Hanson; great-grandchildren, Brett Johnson, Jr., Blake Johnson, Jada Cowan, Austin Baumann, Mya Baumann, Ellyse Knott, Caden Knott, and Callie Knott. Also surviving are her brother, Jim (Shirley) Brakken; sisters-in-law, Dorothy Johnson and Carol Radil; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

A Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, February 3, 2023, at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria. Visitation will be held 4-6 PM on Thursday, February 2, 2023, at the Anderson Funeral Home and for one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday.

Memorials are preferred to the First Lutheran Church Radio Fund.

Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory in Alexandria.

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