William Francis Johnston
William Francis Johnston, age 73, died Friday, January 1, 2016, at the Warroad Senior Living Center in Warroad, Minnesota where he had resided for the past two years.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm, Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at Cease Family Funeral Home in Bemidji with Fr. Chuck Huck officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service on Wednesday.
William was born in Cass Lake to Charles and Theresa (Wind) Johnston (Way nah ge way be quay). Willie grew up as the only son among many sisters whom he loved to tease, but loved dearly. Willie graduated from Cass Lake High School where in his senior year he was Captain of the Basketball, Baseball, Football teams as well as Homecoming King. He then attended and graduated Haskell Junior College right after high school. He moved to Chicago and married Lula Billy and had two sons, William Francis Jr and Jeffrey. He also attended Greer Technical Institute in Chicago, Illinois in 1971. He was divorced and moved to Colorado where he managed a hardware store for many years until returning to Minnesota in 1983 to open his own store. In 1985 he married the love of his life, Eilene, becoming a stepfather to three daughters. Willie was proud to return to his hometown in 1987 to manage the Che-Wa-Ka-egon complex and worked later as the purchasing director for Leech Lake Gaming until his retirement in 2008. Willie's best moments were spent on the lake with his wife, his brother-in-law, Terry, grandkids and others. A good day on the lake was any day spent in the boat and fishing opener was a high point of every year. Willie loved to travel to different places and found a willing travel partner in Eilene. He was extremely proud of his grandchildren and often went on special donut runs and shopping trips with the kids. He taught "his girls" to love Mexican food, the "right way" to cook fish, as well as how to hunt down a good bargain. Willie was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's and struggled with this till the end. He lives on in the memories of those that loved him best.
He is survived by his wife: Eilene Johnston, Grand Rapids; daughters Tanya (Dean) Dorholt, Warroad; Julia (Lance) Hendrickson, Aitkin; Bridget (Chuck) Lindner, Warroad; sons William Jr and Jeffrey, Chicago, their children and grandchildren; grandchildren Emily, Drew, Kaitlin, Zachary, Luke, Grace, and Grant; six sisters, Caroline (Terry) Stangel, Grand Rapids, Charlene (Robert) Kirchner, Brewster, Linda (Joe Thomas) Johnston, Cass Lake, Pauline Johnston, Cass Lake, Monica Johnston, Cass Lake, Maxine Johnston, Cass Lake and numerous nieces and nephews.
Preceding him in death were his father, Charles in 2001 and mother, Theresa in 2004; two infant sisters, Katherine and Corrine; his grandmother, Emma Bear, and grandfather, Levi Wind Sr.
Condolences may be left at http://www.ceasefuneralhome.com.