Richard Dale Johnson, 84, formerly of Minot, ND, passed away March 27, 2021, in a Billings assisted living facility.
Richard (Dick) was born October 19, 1936, in Williston, ND, the son of Jesse and Agatha Johnson. He grew up in a middle-class family, alongside three brothers and two sisters.
Richard went to school through high school, where he participated in the gymnastics team. After graduating high school in 1955, he began his career with Great Northern Railway as a switchman. This was interrupted for a stint in the Army in which he served overseas in Okinawa, Japan. He resumed working for the railroad in Minot, ND, upon his return and worked there until retirement.
Richard met his wife-to-be, Shirley Southam, in Minot and they married in 1963. They welcomed daughter Christina “Christy” and son Charles “Chuck” to this union. In Richard’s youth, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, pitching fast-pitch softball, and took up playing guitar and singing. He often entertained close family members at gatherings with his playing. Richard also wrote and recorded several of his own songs and even had a few published. In 1996, Richard and Shirley moved from Minot to Billings to be closer to their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.
Richard often enjoyed sipping on a cold glass of iced tea and relaxing with one of his favorite TV shows. His calm and caring personality was evident as soon as you met him. Some of his favorite moments were spent with his close family, especially his grandchildren and, later on, his great-grandchildren. His face would light up as he would hold the little babies. It was priceless.
In Richard’s later years, he fought hard with depression and, later, dementia. This then led to him residing in a care facility for the last years of his life. Richard’s walk with dementia was a difficult one as he lost memories, physical abilities and independence among other things people take for granted. God’s grace continued to show up even throughout the dark days, however. Richard’s sense of humor remained and smiles and laughs were had even to the very end. The other unexpected gift was his faith in God that not only remained but grew stronger as the disease progressed. Throughout each and every step, good and bad, his wife Shirley walked with him. She was his rock and he was her light.
The family wishes to express their extreme gratitude to Your Home Away from Home owners and staff for the care and compassion provided to Richard during his residence there.
Richard is survived by his wife of 57 years, Shirley; daughter Chris (Kevin) Perreault; son Chuck; brother Curt; grandchildren Logan (Sammie) Perreault, Dustin (Hailey) Perreault, Dylan (Raina) Perreault; several great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers Gary and Marvin; and sisters Mary Lou and Becky.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 5, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. The Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 6, at St. Bernard’s Parish.