A Tribute to Curtiss Johnson

November 10, 1916 to January 21, 1999

by Phil Johnson

Curtiss made his living in architectural hardware. For more than 50 years, he chose hardware material for such buildings as the Minneapolis Convention Center, the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, numerous buildings at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and for the University of Minnesota.

He was a veteran of World War II, a member of the American Swedish Institute, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the Swedish American Historical Society.

You could never count Curtiss Johnson out. He always positioned himself for the next play. This was true of the games he played and coached, and it was how he played his life.

Photo of Curt

If you met him, you know how quickly he engaged people personally. I don’t remember my first meeting with him, but I do remember his lively eyes, warm smile, and friendly conversation. We will miss Curt at Pietisten. In addition to his friendship and writing (see “Finding Sam” and “Here Goes for Minnehaha” in the last issue), Curt was a vigorous promoter of Pietisten. He provided a steady flow of gift subscriptions and discussed Pietisten issue-by-issue with people.

Edison was Curt’s school; mine was International Falls. We told stories to one another about the Tommies and the Broncos. We talked about Pietisten. We worked on the ad for This Side of the River, the history of Salem Covenant Church, written by Glen Wiberg. We talked on the phone and sent e-mails to one another. We looked for each other at gatherings. Seeing Curt and Lorraine always gave me a lift.

Curt made many friends, and he was committed to Christian faith and ministry. He was a lover. He loved his family, he loved history, he loved his country, he loved his church, and he loved sports. We salute him and his well-lived life.

[Also, please see Phil Johnson's report on Curt's memorial service, "An Old Ball Player Takes His Final Break." --Ed.]