Friday, August 14, 2020

Lowell Claire Johnson, 81, Dodge Center

Lowell Claire Johnson, 81, of Dodge Center, died on Sunday, July 19, 2020, at Mayo Clinic Hospital Saint Mary’s Campus in Rochester. 

Lowell was born on April 25, 1939 to Oscar and Norma (Lienau) Johnson in Sioux Falls, where his father worked for Oliver Tractor Company. 

Upon the early death of his father in 1942, Norma and her sons, Larry and Lowell, moved back to Dodge Center and lived with her parents, John and Minnie Lienau.

Lowell’s great-grandparents on his mother’s side, William and Pauline Luhde, were among the early settlers of Dodge Center, establishing one of the first blacksmith/livery stables on Main Street in about 1876.

Lowell attended Dodge Center schools and his mother, Norma, taught for over 35 years at schools in Dodge County. The Methodist church just up the street became a center for a lot of their social life. 

In 1952, Norma married Glen Linder and they moved to his farm in Wasioja. In town, Lowell had been active in Boy Scouts, school band and sports, along with working for farmers and other jobs as available. Once on the farm, he became very active in the Future Farmers of America (FFA).

In 1953 Glen was diagnosed with liver cancer and passed away later that year.  Lowell, his brother Larry and his mother were left to do the farming. 

Lowell graduated from Dodge Center High School in 1957 as Senior Class president and was also awarded the Minnesota FFA State Star Farmer award. 

In January 1961 he entered the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany during the Berlin buildup in the Cold War. He served as a Company Training Sergeant in the 8th Military Police Company, 8th Infantry Division, Bad Kreuznach, Germany. 

Upon his discharge in December 1962 Lowell enrolled at Rochester Junior College. He then attended the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. 

Upon graduation Lowell went to work for Caterpillar Tractor Company in Peoria, IL. During the next 12 years he worked for Caterpillar dealers in Los Angeles and Honolulu. 

Lowell moved back to Dodge Center in 1979 and established his own company, Johnson Construction Equipment Company (JCE). JCE started as a heavy construction equipment repair company, but then transitioned to exporting construction equipment and parts to customers in Guam, Saipan, Rota, Palau and other islands in the Western Pacific. JCE also worked with McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing of Dodge Center, exporting many of their mixer trucks and concrete batch plants. 

Lowell met his wife, Lois Petersen, of Fertile, MN, while he was at the University of Minnesota. They were married 34 years later, after her retirement from 33 years of information technology work and management at First Bank System. 

Lowell was a long-term member of Wells Peterson Post 384, American Legion in Dodge Center. Lowell’s father, Oscar, and two uncles, Sever and Harry, worked together to help establish this post in 1919. Lowell was Treasurer and Trustee of Riverside Cemetery in Dodge Center, a position once held for 20 years by his grandfather, John Lienau, back in the 1930’s. Lowell was also a member of the Dodge County Historical Society.

Lowell and Lois moved to their retirement home in Dodge Center on May 15, 2020 and he frequently said, “I’m glad I have returned to enjoy the old hometown.”

Lowell is survived by his wife, Lois; brother, Larry (Janet) Johnson; three nephews, Eric (Lisa), Thad (Suzy) and Steve; five grand-nieces and nephews, Julia (Ben Gustafson), Allison, Mark, Danielle and Seth; Lois’s sons Erik (Junko) and Earl; and five grandchildren, Sheen, Emika, Arthur, Nathaniel and Teresa. Lowell was preceded in death by his parents and his nephew, Kurt. 

A graveside service was held on Friday, July 24, 2020, at Riverside Cemetery in Dodge Center.  Military honors were provided by the Dodge Center American Legion. 

Memorials may be given to a charity of your choice, Riverside Cemetery or the Lowell and Lois Johnson Scholarship Fund.   

To share a special memory or send condolences please visit

Czaplewski Family Funeral Homes, 25 South Street, Dodge Center, MN 55927

(507)374-2155.  Blessed be his memory. 

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Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent / ADvantage
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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