Don A. Johnson, 1942-2014

Published 9:00 am Sunday, August 24, 2014

Don A. Johnson, 71, died unexpectedly Tuesday, Aug. 19, at his home in Albert Lea. He recently retired from a long and distinguished career practicing law and was enjoying fishing, reading mystery novels, woodworking, cooking, traveling and visiting his family in his retirement.

Don Johnson

Don Johnson

Don was born Dec. 8, 1942, in Minneapolis, the son of Selmer and Mary (Empanger) Johnson. He grew up in Hopkins and was baptized at Faith Presbyterian Church. Don graduated from the University of Minnesota with both a bachelor’s degree and juris doctor. He married Mary Ellen Alt Aug. 28, 1966, in Hammond, Ind. In 1967, they moved from Minneapolis to Albert Lea where he joined a law firm that eventually became Christian and Peterson, P.A., practicing there his entire career. Don was a community leader, member of the First Presbyterian Church, longtime Lion’s Club member and trusted friend of many. He wielded a great and dry sense of humor.

He volunteered his time and energy with Habitat for Humanity, Readers’ Theater, the American Cancer Society, Destination Albert Lea and the Boy Scouts. He enthusiastically supported the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank and worked countless games at the Lions Bingo Booth.

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Left to cherish his memory are his wife Mary Ellen, his children Matthew B. Johnson of New York City and Sarah K. Johnson of Atlanta; sisters Deborah (James) Gessaman of Tucson, Ariz. and children Patrick, Michael (Deana) and Carrie, and Susan Clayton of Colorado Springs, Colo. and children Christopher (Laura) Koupal, Ryan Koupal and Jessica Clayton; cousins Dean Empanger, Peggy Vogel, Patty Yorks and Jon Empanger; brother-in-law Thomas H. (Donna) Alt of Wayzata and sons Thomas Jr., and Timothy (Patti); nephews Edward M. Alt III and Mark Alt III, sister-in-law Gail (Joe) Conlan and many grand nieces and nephews.

Don was preceded in death by his parents Selmer and Mary Johnson and his brother-in-law Edward Alt.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the First Presbyterian Church in Albert Lea. Interment will be at Graceland Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday at Bonnerup Funeral Service and one hour prior to services at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation, Habitat for Humanity or a charity of one’s choosing.