Lawrence W. "Swede" Johnson
Funeral services for Lawrence W. "Swede" Johnson, age 89 of Winnetoon, Nebraska, will be 10:30 a.m. Friday, August 22, 2014, at the United Methodist Church in Creighton, Nebraska. Reverend Beverly Lanzendorf will officiate, with burial in the Royal Cemetery at Royal, Nebraska.
Military Honors will be conducted by VFW Post 1151 of Creighton, and American Legion Post 259 of Verdigre, Nebraska.
Visitation will be Thursday, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at Brockhaus Funeral Home in Creighton.
Swede died Monday, August 18, 2014.
Lawrence Wallace "Swede" Johnson, son of Charles and Eleanora (Schuneman) Johnson, was born on September 6, 1924, at St. Edward, Nebraska. Swede attended rural school and St. Edward schools until the age of 17, when he joined the United States Merchant Marines in 1942, during World War II. Swede's time of service extended through 1946. He sailed from both the east and the west coasts of the United States, making a total of 11 foreign trips, which meant crossing an ocean 22 times while traveling in convoys carrying U.S. troops and supplies, and bringing prisoners of war in return. Some destinations included Belfast, Ireland; Glasgow, Scotland; Bristol, South Hampton; and Liverpool, England; the Caroline Islands in the Pacific; and to the Persian Gulf via the Suez Canal.
Swede met his future wife, Eloise Bartsch, after his return from war service. They were married on March 17, 1948, at the Royal Methodist Church in Royal, Nebraska, the only double wedding performed there, which included Eloise's sister Elaine, and her husband, Charley Meyer. Two children blessed this union: Enid Kay in 1949, and Errol Ray in 1951. Errol died in 1967, just nine days before his 17th birthday. Enid, commonly called "Missy", married Bob Caufman and they reside in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. They were blessed with the only granddaughter, Erika Jean.
Swede and Eloise lived in Antelope and Holt Counties until purchasing their present ranchland in Knox County in 1965. No prouder landowner than Swede will ever be found. He took great pride in keeping things in their place and always having the grass mowed around all of the buildings. Extensive time and effort were spent in conservation work, with awards, to improve and restore the land. Cedar trees were his special enemy!
Swede became a member of the Methodist Church at St. Edward on April 7, 1938. This membership transferred with him to the present Creighton United Methodist Church making a total of 76 years. He had been a "happy volunteer" each time he was called to help build the present church building.
Swede was a loyal member of the Verdigre American Legion unit, and a lifetime member of the Creighton VFW. He was proud to have travelled on one of the World War II trips to Washington, DC, to view the various memorials. Swede was also a member of the Verdigre Valley Senior Citizens and enjoyed the meals and card playing until his health prevented his attendance.
Swede is survived by his wife, Eloise Johnson; daughter, Enid (husband) Bob Caufman and family; brother, Rollie (wife Janice) Johnson and family; sisters-in-law, Elaine Meyer and family, Minnie Johnson and family, Dorothy Johnson and family; and nieces and nephews of the Nebbia family; as well as many cousins still residing in Sweden.
Deceased family includes Swede's parents, Charles and Eleanora Johnson; brothers, Wilbur and Wayne; sister, Trudy Nebbia; and brother-in-law, Charley Meyer.