Harold “Stu” Johnson died on Thursday, October 17, 2019, at Saint Joseph Immanuel Hospital/Mayo Health Systems, Mankato, at the age of 80. Funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m., on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at First Lutheran Church, St. Peter, with visitation one hour prior. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Foundation Fighting Blindness, First Lutheran Church, St. Peter or the H. Stuart and Marlys C Johnson Scholarship Endowment Fund at Gustavus Adolphus College. St. Peter Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Stuart was born on February 28, 1939, to Rennette and Harold Johnson at Saint Joseph Immanuel Hospital in Mankato. Stu was the older twin brother to Weezie (Eloise). Stu attended Saint Peter High School, graduating in 1957. He continued his education at Gustavus Adolphus College, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree on June 4, 1961. Later he attained a Master of Science in Teaching from Wisconsin State University, Superior. Stu had additional schooling at the University of Hawaii, Illinois Institute of Technology, Bemidji State College, Saint Cloud State College, Oklahoma State University, and the University of the Philippines. On April 9, 1960, he was united in marriage with Marlys Christa Johnson at Salem Lutheran Church in Saint Cloud, Minnesota.
Stu began his career as a teacher and a coach. He taught physics, physical science, mathematics, and elementary science education in-service classes, as well as coaching golf, basketball, football and tennis in various locations including Livonia, Michigan; Tachikawa, Japan; Clark Air Base, the Philippines; the University of Wisconsin, Superior, Michigan; Bemidji, Minnesota; Spring Lake, Michigan and Central Michigan University at Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Leaving teaching, Stu worked briefly in sales, moving from Spring Lake, Michigan to Saint Peter, Minnesota. The move to Saint Peter led to an executive position at Citizens’ Scholarship Foundation of America (CSFA), now known as Scholarship America. Stu retired from CSFA as a vice president in 2001, after 25 years of service.
Stu was a member of First Lutheran Church, serving on the Finance Committee and the Hospital Board. During his teaching career, he was active in the National Science Teachers Association, Michigan Science Teachers Association, Michigan Association of Science Education Specialists, Sigma Pi Sigma honor fraternity of physics students and a member of the advisory committee for dune use for Central Michigan University. In 2010, Stu was inducted into the Saint Peter High School Hall of Fame in recognition of outstanding and exceptional professional and/or humanitarian achievement, additionally representing the “best” of over 10,000 alumni of Saint Peter High School. In his acceptance speech, Stu shared that since 1976, CSFA/Scholarship America had distributed $1,966,822,833.00 in scholarships to approximately 1,125,894 recipients. Stu proudly shared that not only was Saint Peter the National Headquarters of Scholarship America, but is also the home of the largest scholarship organization in the world.
Stu’s passions included education, golf, photography, traveling with Marlys and family, woodwork, Mah Jongg aka “Stu Wins,” and Gustie athletics. He was co-founder of the Minnesota Mini Tour, and fabulous salsa maker.
Stu is survived by his children, Christopher (Melissa) Johnson, Boulder, Colorado, and Anne-Marie (Rick) Gunderson, Minnetonka, Minnesota; grandchildren, Tucker and MacKenna Johnson, and Haley and Jack Gunderson; sister, Eloise (Sheppard) Hayman, Northfield, Minnesota. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marlys, and parents, Rennette and Harold Johnson.