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Bemidji man turns 100

John Johnson of Bemidji was thrown a birthday party Wednesday for turning 100 years old this week. Johnson, originally from Mohall, N.D., has been a resident at Goldpine Home in Bemidji for nearly a decade. Anne Williams | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI - Treating yourself to a bologna sandwich once in a while and maintaining "a good Scandinavian work ethic" are the keys to living a long life, according to Dennis Johnson, the nephew of John Johnson who turned 100 on Monday.

John Johnson, originally from Mohall, N.D., and resident at Goldpine Home in Bemidji, received a birthday party by friends and family Wednesday. He also received a surprise visit from Bemidji Mayor Dave Larson, who handed him a certificate of recognition for turning 100.

Longevity runs in Johnson's family. He was born in 1912 on a farm as one of seven children. His 95-year-old sister and 90-year-old brother are still alive.

Johnson never married and has no children, but has managed to live an active lifestyle throughout his years.

He worked most of his life in the construction industry and was given the opportunity to work as a foreman with a construction company when Saint John's University's Abbey church was being built.

"He worked on a farm for many years and that taught him to work efficiently with his hands," Dennis Johnson said.

Johnson is also an avid woodworker and created the wooden lamp and floor chest he uses in his room at Goldpine Home.

Staff members at Goldpine know Johnson as the man with a big smile.

"John has a very gentle soul," said Terry Anderson, an employee at Goldpine. "He's been talking about being 100 years old for a year and a half now, so it's a very big day."

Staff at Goldpine pledged to give Johnson a helping of freshly made lefse, a traditional Norwegian flatbread, if he turned 100, a promise that was met on Wednesday at his birthday party.

"He loves his lefse, which he often says his mother used to make him," Anderson added. "He's so proud of his heritage."