Thomas Neal Johnson

T. Neal Johnson

Thomas Neal Johnson "Neal," son of Tauno Nickolas and Thilda (Solom) Johnson, was born July 19, 1939, and entered his heavenly home on Feb. 4, 2021.

He was born and raised in Roseau, Minnesota where he graduated from High School in 1957. His first year of college was at Harvard College, Boston, MA, where he played freshman hockey and baseball. He then transferred to the University of Minnesota and later completed his education at Moorhead State College, Moorhead, MN. He graduated with high honors and was initiated into Kappa Delta Pi, international honor society.

He started his insurance career working for Crawford and Co. in Atlanta, GA. Three years later he moved back to Minnesota and was with VanWagenen Company in Minneapolis for 18 years.

He and LaVonne Rognlie Appelbaum were married June 19, 1982, and moved back to Roseau where Neal became a Real Estate Broker opening North Border Realty. Upon retirement, he and LaVonne purchased a home in Green Valley, AZ where they spent fifteen winters.

Neal was a talented athlete lettering in five sports his senior year in high school; football, hockey, baseball, golf and track. He was selected for The All-Star Hockey Team that year. He was also instrumental in starting the high school boy's baseball team.

During the time he was at the U of M he played hockey for the U.S. Hockey Team, a semi-professional league, where he played with several future North Star Hockey players.

While at Moorhead State he started the college hockey team, the Dragons, for which he was the Head Coach.

Neal loved to hunt Snow Geese in Western Manitoba and was an avid fisherman. He purchased a cabin on Flag Island on Lake of the Woods where he and LaVonne spent many summers fishing for walleye. Neal also loved classical music and was an avid reader of history and economics; remembering everything he read.

He became an avid genealogist tracing his family back to the 1800s and LaVonne's to the 1500s. He helped many friends do the same.

He became a member of Desert Hills Lutheran Church in Green Valley and served on the board of the DHLC Foundation where he was responsible for the Gifting Committee.

Neal will always be remembered as a kind, gentle, thoughtful, caring, generous man with a keen intellect, an even-keeled demeanor, an ever-present friendly smile and a man of strong Christian Faith. He is a great loss to family, church and community.

A Memorial Service will be held at DHLC, April 23, 2 p.m. All CDC and ELCA guidelines will be followed. In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to his favorite charities: DHLC Foundation, Luther Seminary Scholarships for seminarians, Border Community Alliance for San Bosco Shelter, or the Food Bank of Southern Arizona.