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THE PASSING OF LARRY JOHNSON, MINNESOTA'S "ETHANOL ANSWER MAN"
Source: Johnson family

Larry Lee Johnson, 76, rural Cologne, died of a stroke on July 19, 2020. Also known as "Governor of Gotha" and "The Ethanol Answer Man," Larry was known and loved by many and will be sorely missed.

A life-long resident of San Francisco Township, Larry still lived on the property where he was raised on the banks of Silver Creek. He had a passion for growing trees, flowers and vegetables and over-wintered hundreds of plants in his greenhouse. His Xcel seed-starting spreadsheet listed 106 different varieties that he planted and nurtured in his greenhouse from early winter to transplanting time in May. He cared for 90+ tomato plants and processed his tomatoes into dozens of quarts of tomato juice.

Larry attended District 24 one-room schoolhouse for grades 1-8 and graduated from Waconia High School. He attended the University of Minnesota and later farmed for three decades, initially with his brother Jim, raising turkeys and field crops.

Larry was active in the Minnesota Corn Growers Assn., transitioning into ethanol promotion with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. He later became a private consultant to the ethanol industry. He served on many boards and task forces, most recently as Secretary of AURI (Agricultural Utilization Research Institute).

He was a life-long member of West Union Lutheran Church and served the church in many capacities, including chair of the church council at the time of his death. He developed and managed the West Union Community Gardens for many years and maintained the cemetery's large raised garden built in memory of Larry's father, Clifford.

Larry is preceded in death by his parents, Clifford A. and Marion Johnson. He is survived by Sandy, his wife of 56 years; children Adam (Shelly) Johnson, Aaron Johnson (fiancée Laura) and Angela Johnson (Bob); grandchildren, Heather (Mike) Thomason, Haley (Nate) Stier, Hannah Johnson (special friend Chris) and Janessa Johnson; great grandchildren Ezra and Evelyn Thomason; and brothers Jim (Joanne), Clifford Bruce (Wanda) and Joy Heimark (Charlie).


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