Memorial Service Held for Philip E. Johnson

Post a Comment » Written on December 30th, 2003     
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SPRING LAKE, MI (December 30, 2003)  – A memorial service was held last Tuesday, December 23, at Spring Lake Christian Reformed Church for retired Evangelical Covenant Church pastor Philip E. Johnson, who died December 19 in a local care facility.

Johnson served a number of Covenant churches over four decades of ministry, including 14 at the Evangelical Covenant Church of Northport, Michigan. He retired in August 1984, according to information from the Department of the Ordered Ministry. He lived in Northport from retirement up until three years ago. He and his wife, Eunice, kept their membership at the Covenant church there, according to the church’s current pastor Rick Miller.

Born December 28, 1920, to John and Phebe (Peterson) Johnson in Foreston, Minnesota, Johnson loved learning and was always amazed at God’s order and creation as revealed in math and science, said his family in an obituary published in the Grand Haven (MI) Tribune. Ordained by the Covenant in 1957, Johnson earned his undergraduate diploma (in theology) in 1944 from St. Paul Bible College in Minnesota. He married Eunice Stromgren on June 9, 1943 while he was finishing his college education.

Johnson began his ministry from 1944 to 1947 at the Covenant church in Dale, Minnesota. He served a pair of Covenant congregations in Wadena and Staples, Minnesota, from 1947 to 1952, and then became pastor of Fence Union Church in Fence, Wisconsin, from 1952 to 1956. He then served at First Covenant Church in Marinette, Wisconsin, from 1956 to 1961 before heading to the Northport Covenant church. His last eight years were spent in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, serving Bethlehem and Lost Lake Covenant churches in Stephenson.

Even in retirement, Johnson was active in ministry. His daughter Jeanne’ said that he led a Bible study at the church he was attending up until one month before his death. He was also active at the retirement home in which he resided. He supported Prison Fellowship and Billy Graham Ministries and was involved in a ham radio club, having always enjoyed that hobby.

Survivors include his wife, Eunice; three daughters, Jeanne’ (Charles) Gembis of Owosso, Lila (Jim) Hatch of West Olive and Christine Johnson of Traverse City; two sons, David (Marilyn) Johnson and Richard (Susan) Johnson, both of Minneapolis, Minnesota; 12 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a sister, Edith (James) Broten, of St. Paul, Minnesota.

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