Obituary: Eldon D. Johnson

Retired Covenant minister Eldon D. Johnson died on Friday, January 15. He was 92.

The son and grandson of Swedish immigrants, Eldon was born on May 16, 1928, in Escanaba, Michigan, to Edwin and Elsie Johnson.

Eldon earned an associate’s degree from North Park Junior College, a bachelor’s degree in Greek and psychology from Northwestern University, and a master’s of divinity from North Park Theological Seminary.

He married Harriet Boreen on June 27, 1952.

After Eldon graduated from seminary in 1954, the couple served Covenant congregations for the next 40 years in Ashland, Wisconsin; Ceresco, Nebraska; Maplewood, Minnesota; Everett, Washington; Libertyville, Illinois; Linwood, Minnesota; Houston, Texas; and Tamarack, Florida.

Eldon oversaw the construction of three new church buildings and the expansion of two more churches, including his childhood church in Gladstone, Michigan. He also participated in short-term mission trips to Haiti and Ecuador.

Over the course of his ministry, Eldon led many people to Christ and championed issues of justice and racial equality.

Upon his retirement in 1993, Eldon and Harriet moved back to Gladstone before relocating to the Covenant Village of Northbrook in 2006.

Throughout his life, Eldon loved to spend time in nature, particularly at the family cabin on Hagerman Lake in Iron River, Michigan, where he had a great appreciation for the trees of the Upper Peninsula. Eldon also loved to garden and was a prolific woodworker and carver.

He is survived by his wife, Harriet; five children, Becky Johnson; Mark Johnson (Edna); Deborah Fogel (Mark); Daniel Johnson (Sylvia); Sarah Saisi (Joe); and six grandchildren.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a memorial celebration will be held at a later date.

Memorials may be directed to United Evangelical Covenant Church of Gladstone, 305 S. 9th Street, Gladstone, MI 49837.


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  1. He taught New Testament at North Park College when I was there in 1958-1960. I understand he was a brother to my wonderful pastor, Rev. Norbert Johnson & an uncle to another good pastor, Rev. Don Johnson-all good men. Condolences to his family.

  2. I’m so grateful for the influence Eldon had on my spiritual journey during my formative Junior and Senior High School Years. I’ll always cherish and be grateful for him taking me, when I was in High School, to the community meetings in the Dale/Selby neighborhood. It had an impact on me getting involved in urban ministry in Minneapolis, which then led me to volunteer in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, now starting my 30th year. My condolences to Harriet and the entire family.

  3. I so appreciated Eldon when he came to our district to serve as the first pastor of Linwood Covenant. His generous graciousness really spoke into my life as a young pastor. Always kind, positive and godly. Wonderful mentoring presence in my life!

  4. Eldon was my confirmation pastor, very firm but fair which was what was needed for ornery boys in the class. He did love trees and told us about the trees he planted at the parsonage. Condolences to the family.

  5. Such a wonderful pastor and friend who helped me spiritually and practically. So wise. His positive love for life was so encouraging. A gentle giant for Christ and a true man’s man. Condolences to his wonderful family.

  6. Rev Johnson married my wife and I in 1961 in the covenant church in Ceresco Ne. He must have done well as the marriage has lasted 60 years. Our condolences and prayers go out for his entire family.

  7. Pastor Johnson was a big influence in my faith journey. He was instrumental in the building of our church in Everett,WA. When I attended North Park in the 1977-78 he and Harriet welcomed me and others from WA to their home in Libertyville. He was such a good pastor to many.

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