Cover photo for Phillip "Phil" Russell Johnson's Obituary
1934 Phillip "Phil" 2023

Phillip "Phil" Russell Johnson

January 10, 1934 — February 11, 2023

Detroit Lakes


Phillip “Phil” Russell Johnson, 89, of Detroit Lakes MN passed away on Saturday, February 11, 2023, at Oak Crossing TCU in Detroit Lakes.  A memorial service is tentatively scheduled for June.

Phil was born on January 10,1934 to Russell and Violet (Tucker) Johnson in Austin MN.  He joined the US Army and honorably served from 1953-1955 mostly in Vienna Austria.  Upon his discharge he enrolled at the U of MN and graduated in 1957 with an AA degree.  He met Frances McDaniel at an ATO fraternity mixer and they were married on July 6, 1957.  The happy couple had three children, Eric, Gail and Anne.  After starting in banking in Minneapolis he was named Manager of the Gate City Savings Bank branch in Detroit Lakes in 1960.  Gate City became Lakeland Federal Savings and Loan and Phil was President of Lakeland until 1981.  He then became a securities broker for Gardner Financial until retiring in 2005. 

He learned to golf when he moved to DL and became quite proficient, winning the 6th flight of the Pine to Palm in 1972.  He took a few golf trips, notably Pebble Beach and the Alabama Golf Trail. He particularly loved to fish and traveled to Canada yearly with the guys, once to the Arctic Circle.  He and Fran traveled extensively all over the US and one memorable trip to Australia and they loved dancing at 50 Club.  They built a house on Long Lake in 1971 and were active with the Long Lake Association.   

Phil was very active in his church and community.  They joined the Congregational Church in 1960 and he held many church offices.  He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Elks, Eagles, President of the Economic Development Corporation, Toastmasters, Masons and the Shriners.  He played the drums in many parades around the area as a fez wearing Shriner.  He was awarded Boss of the Year by the Jaycees in 1978.  In October 2022 he participated in the Honor Flight to Washington DC to commemorate his Army service.

Phil will be deeply missed by his children-Eric (Bridget) Johnson of Detroit Lakes, Gail Johnson of Seattle WA, and Anne Abbe (Dan) of Maple Grove MN and grand-daughter Ellen Johnson (Jeremy Erickson) of Golden Valley MN. 

He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Fran in 2019, his parents Russell and Violet, his sister Twyla Riddle and brother-in- law James McDaniel.



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