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Grant Johnson

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Grant Johnson

Feb. 29, 1916-July 1, 2014

Longtime Detroit Lakes resident Grant "Spike" Johnson passed away July 1, 2014 in Maitland, Fla., with three of his daughters at his side.

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Grant was born in Two Harbors, Minnesota, on February 29, 1916, to Victor and Anna Johnson. Grant had five siblings - John, Axel, Karen Ann, Carl and Margaret.

Along with his wife, the former Kathlyn Beecroft, all preceded him in death.

Grant attended Gustavus Adolphus College and then transferred to the University of Minnesota, where he played Big Ten basketball and was a part of the Gopher championship team of 1937-38.

Grant continued his education path as a teacher and coach in Odessa and Cloquet, before becoming a principal and then a superintendent of schools in Pine Island, Wanimingo, Mountain Lake, Detroit Lakes and Buffalo, Minn.

He was inducted into three Halls of Fame, to include the University of Minnesota M Club for basketball, Minnesota State High School League for administration and athletics and Lake County/Two Harbors for basketball.

He had many accomplishments over the years, including U of M Distinguished Service Award, Governor's Centennial Statehood Sport Championship Award, University 50 year Century Diamond Pin Award, Alumni Association Board of Directors Service Award, President of the Minnesota State High School League, and Minnesota Alumni King of 1953.

His passion was education and he wanted the best educational facility in Minnesota. Under his leadership, the Detroit Lakes Senior High School was built to include a pool and a speech department that included a direct connection to KDLM.

The new Rossman Elementary School was built while new additions were put on at Lincoln and Washington Elementary Schools. Nurses and libraries were put in the elementary schools - a first for the community.

He also fought to get the technical school built in Detroit Lakes - a big accomplishment for the town.

Grant leaves behind five children and their spouses: Mark and Kathie (Johnson) Schaffler, Maitland, Fla., Jeff and Ardis (Rusten) Johnson, Detroit Lakes, Mark and Jennifer (Johnson) Marcouiller, Waukee, Iowa, Marcus and Candyce (Johnson) Coons, Jenson Beach, Fla., and Robbin Kelly Johnson, Maitland, Fla.

He also leaves a niece, Roberta Joy (Beecroft) Korth, Minneapolis.

"Grantpa," as he was affectionately called by his grand and great grandkids, will be missed by all. They include grandchildren Karrie, Lane, Kelly, Katie and Nicholas; and great grandchildren Peyton, Griffin, Kaelen and Hudson.

A memorial in Grant Johnson's name will be set up with the Detroit Lakes High School for a deserving senior basketball player. A memorial service will be held in September.

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