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Earl Johnson

Oct. 18, 1922-July 11, 2008

Hitterdal native Earl S. Johnson, 85, of Santa Barbara, Calif., passed away on Friday, July 11, 2008 at his home.

Earl was born to Arthur and Olga (Nelson) Johnson on Oct. 18, 1922 on the family farm northeast of Hitterdal. He was baptized at home, confirmed in the East Salem Church in Hitterdal in 1937, and graduated from Hitterdal School in 1940.

When World War II broke out, Earl volunteered for the Navy Air Corps and served as a dirigible pilot, patrolling the Pacific Coast. After the war, he attended the University of Minnesota and completed a bachelor's degree in business. After college, he worked as an executive with North America Aviation, a large defense contractor involved in the Apollo Space Program, in Los Angeles, Calif.

On July 21, 1951, Earl married Joanne McDonald in Brentwood, Calif. In 1966, he left his corporate career and moved to Santa Barbara, where he began the Johnson Construction Company.

Surviving Earl are his wife, Joanne; two children, Stephen (Laura) Johnson and Susan Ferguson; four grandchildren; and two cousins.

A funeral service was held on Wednesday, July 16 at the First United Methodist Church in Santa Barbara, where Earl was an active member, and served on the Board of Trustees. Over the years, he had remodeled every room in the church. Interment followed the service at the Santa Barbara Cemetery.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapel in Santa Barbara.