Joel E. Johnson

Joel E. Johnson, of Cambridge, passed away on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, peacefully at his home surrounded by his family. 

He was born in Minneapolis on Sept. 5, 1960, to Wendell and Laurel Johnson. He spent his childhood in Dalton, Minn.  Wendell, Laurel and the five children moved to the Forest Lake, Minn., area in 1976. Dalton was the place he loved, but in moving to “the city” he met his sweetheart in high school, Lisa Kemnitz. After high school graduation in 1978, Joel worked with his uncle on a farm in Cambridge and then started a career in construction. He and Lisa married on Jan. 17, 1981. They have three children: Daniel, Cara and Kyle. The family lived in the area of Coon Lake where they eventually built a home. Joel worked construction, and Lisa was a full-time homemaker. They raised their three young children in that home until 1991, when they moved to Cambridge, hoping to buy a hobby farm. Joel always wanted to own a farm, and this dream finally came true in 1992 when God opened the door to a farm that Joel had admired for many years. While Joel and Lisa were hoping for a hobby farm, the Lord had another idea – they were blessed to be able to purchase a much larger farm than they had ever thought possible. The purchase included all the farm equipment needed so Joel became the “farmer” he had always wanted to be – in addition to still working in construction.

Joel and Lisa transformed the dated farm and farmhouse over the years, and in 2009 added on to the house to make it a bigger space where all seven of his grandchildren loved asking Grandma, “Where’s Papa?” as soon as they arrived. They loved him for his tight hugs, cuddles in the rocking chair reading books, 4-wheeler rides around the farm, and especially Papa’s candy stash where he never refused them a treat when they asked.

In 2004 Joel partnered up with a longtime friend/co-worker to start up a heavy hauling trucking company called LC Transport. They built a successful company where Joel brought his knowledge of equipment and people contacts to the table, and together they worked hard and remained friends and business partners over the years.

Through the years, Joel worked for a few construction companies where he was a supervisor and became a beloved and respected friend to all who worked with him: Minn-Kota Excavating, EJM Pipe Services, Hardrives, Inc. and Minnesota Paving & Materials. Throughout his career, he worked hard at those construction jobs during the day, but his heart and soul was back at home on his farm. He always joked that if possible, he would never like to travel south of Isanti County. He loved to watch the wildlife that was out in the country and would teach his children and grandchildren to love the country as well.

He is survived by his wife Lisa; children Daniel (Jennifer) Johnson of Bloomington, Cara (Jared) Cavanaugh of Golden Valley, Kyle (Anna) Johnson of Bloomington; seven grandchildren: Charlotte, Griffin, Magnolia, Colton, Georgia, Penelope and Zoe; parents Wendell and Laurel Johnson of Cambridge; brothers Paul Johnson of New Brighton, Karl (Heather) Johnson of Eagan, Mark (Sara) Johnson of Dalton; sister Mary Johnson of Rush City; mother-in-law JoAnn Kemnitz of Apache Junction, Ariz.; sisters and brothers in-law, many nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.

Joel’s family wishes to extend their sincere thanks to all those that have sent cards, brought meals, given hugs and condolences and most of all shared their wonderful memories of him and what a great man he was.

Funeral services: 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, at Salem Lutheran Church with Pastor Mary Fiel and Pastor Bill Pearson officiating. Interment was in the church cemetery. Online condolences at Arrangements by Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Cambridge.

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