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James  "Jim" E. Johnson
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Obituary for James "Jim" E. Johnson

James Eugene Johnson, a lifelong resident of the Skagit Valley, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 22 after a brief illness. He was 89 years old.
Jim was born on September 19, 1928, at Rowley Hospital, to Algot and Mabel Johnson of Conway, Washington. He grew up in the family home on the main street of Conway with his sister, Lyla, and was baptized and confirmed at Fir-Conway Lutheran Church. He attended Conway School and graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1946.
Jim met Nancy Johnson at the Strawberry Festival in Burlington in 1947, and they were married on June 26,1948. Jim worked as a salesman and parts man at Johnson Motors, the Mount Vernon Studebaker and Oliver tractor dealership co-owned by his father and Elmer Hanson, until it closed in 1964. After the dealership closed, Jim bought a share at Anacortes Veneer, where he worked until 1981.
Jim was a devoted father and family man. He and Nancy raised their family on a small farm on Beaver Marsh Road, now in the midst of tulip country. Over the years, besides farming their 40 acres with peas, wheat and barley, Jim found time with his kids to raise horses, cows and chickens. He was also an avid vegetable gardener, regularly supplying family and friends with potatoes, corn, beans, carrots, tomatoes, berries and many other wonderful fruits and vegetables, and he cut and chopped many cords of firewood over the years to fuel the wood stove and fireplace.
Both Jim and Nancy had large extended families in the local area, and over the years there were many picnics and gatherings of the Johnson and Brandstrom families. The relationships extended even further to the old country, with Jim and Nancy traveling to Denmark, Sweden and Norway several times to spend cherished times with relatives, making deep and lasting connections with aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, many of whom reciprocated over the years by coming to Mount Vernon to visit in their travels to the USA.
In retirement, Jim and Nancy loved spending time with their kids and grandkids. They also followed their dreams to travel the country in a motorhome. They logged many miles, making a trip across the country and back, wintering with friends in California, Arizona and Mexico, and visiting friends and family all over the Western states. Jim also worked seasonally in his dream job for Washington Bulb Company, plowing the fields and farms he had known for many years, while building strong friendships with many members of the Roozen family and their long-time employees.
The RV also played a key role in Husky football, hosting many tailgate parties at UW football games, and traveling to the Rose Bowl. Although Jim didn’t attend the UW himself, all three of the kids graduated from the UW, and he was a big supporter of the Huskies over the years, as well as being an avid fan of the Mariners and Seahawks.
In 2014, Jim and Nancy sold the farm and left the Skagit flats, moving to a new home in a small development off Blackburn in Mount Vernon. This brought them closer to their church, Salem Lutheran, of which they have been active members for nearly 40 years. With the move, they also became part of a close-knit community, with many caring neighbors, although Jim did miss having the ability to look out the window each day to survey the farmland and the beautiful mountains—he was always a farmer at heart!
Jim is survived by his loving wife, Nancy, daughters Sue Ethridge (Doug) of Tacoma and Kathy Norgaard (Steve) of Anacortes, son Jim (Holly) of Seattle, grandchildren Erica Norgaard, Peter Norgaard (Nao Murakami) and Erik Johnson, sister Lyla Bjorgan, sister-in-law Amy Valentine, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Nikolas Johnson.
The family would like to thank the wonderful doctors and nurses at Skagit Valley Hospital who provided such compassionate care for Jim during his illness and his final days.
A memorial service will be held at Salem Lutheran Church, 2529 N. Laventure Rd., Mount Vernon on Saturday, April 14 at 2:00pm. The family asks that in lieu of flowers or other remembrances, donations be made to Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, Seattle Children’s Hospital - Cora Jennings Guild, or the Salem Lutheran Church Roofing Fund.

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Previous Events

Memorial Service




2:00 PM
Salem Lutheran Church

2529 N Laventure Rd
Mount Vernon, WA 98273


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