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Obituary for Daniel O. Johnson
Daniel O. Johnson died peacefully, and unexpectedly, at home, June 29th, 2015, in Frederic, WI.
Dan was born February 10, 1954, in Frederic. His parents were, William F. Johnson III and Gudrun O. Strand-Anderson-Johnson.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and an older brother David, who died as an infant, and is survived by brother, William, cousins, and friends.
He attended school in Frederic and graduated with the Class of 1972. Then it was off to UW-River Falls where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1976.
His entire work life was in the Frederic area. In high school, he worked part time at the Co-op Food Store, bagging and delivering groceries. He always gave credit to that experience for the customer service and work ethic skills he used the rest of his life.
Upon completing college studies, he started working full time at the Arrow Building Center yard in Frederic. At ABC he started doing estimates working with contractors putting material lists together to make their jobs work. ABC eventually closed the Frederic yard, but Dan continued with them at the Milltown location for a couple more years, and the building material business would follow him into the future.
During a brief break in the lumber business, he worked at Triple Z, a Frederic motorsports dealer, as a vehicle and parts counter salesperson, and also did a little mechanic work. This experience sparked an interest in motorcycles that led to doing a few sessions of motorcycle racing at Brainerd International Raceway.
His attention to detail in construction found him working on an occasional cabinet installation project for Fossum Cabinets in Frederic.
He moved on to work at Cashco Lumber in Webster and in 1992 started at Johnson Lumber near Falun, where he was currently employed. Through his years in the lumberyard business he got to know the suppliers, contractors, and most of the other lumberyard owners and employees in a wide area around Frederic.When heading off to college, Dan started thinking about having a bike to get around River Falls. He went serious and invested in a real bike, at the time a French Motobecane Grand Touring. The only bike shops around were in the Twin Cities, and it became necessary to learn how to repair and maintain bikes yourself, living out here. After several bikes and investing in the tools and equipment to work on his own bikes, he was the person to go to if you needed some bike repair or adjustment. During college he took a few 100+ mile rides around Northwest Wisconsin.
In the late 1980s citizen bicycle racing was just starting to show up. Dan rode in the 1987 version of the Grandview Firehouse 50, and has ridden in that event every year since. As bike racing took off, he continued attending more races every year, and has ridden in virtually hundreds of races in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. He has ridden in, and helped with all of the Frederic Lions Classic races since 1988. He made the trophies for the overall winners for the Frederic race for the past several years. He enjoyed sharing stories with the bike race veterans about events that came and went over the years, and there was always an informal competition to see who had the oldest T-shirt from some obscure bike race.
Craftsmanship and his artistic side came together when he started building cedar strip canoes. His father built a sailboat and taught Dan and William to sail when they were just kids. That connection with boats followed Dan into the future. While working in lumber yards, he had access to clear cedar material that would become the strips to build canoes. He built several canoes and paddles of different designs and was awarded several trophies by the Minnesota Canoe Association for his craftsmanship.
Motorcycles became an interest when working at Triple Z. He owned several over the years and raced in two classes at BIR and has a couple trophies from class wins. He currently was riding a 900SS Ducati and went out to find new twisty back roads as often as possible.
For relaxation he read quite a bit. Science Fiction was his primary reading subject and he attended a book signing and met author William Gibson.
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