Mr. Earl Johnson
Earl Roger Johnson was born on November 15, 1923 in Lindsborg, Kansas. The Johnson family lived in Lindsborg for three years before moving to McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Earl was the son of Linus and Clancy Johnson. Earl has two sisters: Beulah and Marion and one brother, George. George was born, September 9, 1921. Linus Johnson was a young pastor that had just graduated form Bethel Academy and Theological Seminary, now known as Bethel College and Seminary. One weekend in December 1928, pastor and Clancy went out to dinner before pastor had to make a trip to Chicago. After pastor left for Chicago, Clancy became ill and died on December 16, 1928.
Some time later by unanimous vote of the family, pastor Johnson married Ruth Oden a nurse who worked at McKeesport General Hospital. Ruth left her job to take up the task of mother and pastors wife. Pastor Johnson and Ruth were married in the Oden family home. Soon after, Linus and Ruth and the family moved to Stromsburg, Nebraska. Stromsburg was a small farming community. Earl says; "Small towns are great! I spent a lot of time walking to the town-square, the park with its frozen pond in the winter, and the railroad station was always an interesting place with steam engines puffing to and fro. We made quite a few visits to the farms around Stromsburg. It was a real educational experience for a city lad to learn about the cows and pigs and especially the horses that we were able to ride on occasion. We were only there a couple of years when dad got a call to pastor at Temple Baptist Church in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1932."
In Duluth, Earl attended Denfeld High School where Temple Church had a great "Boy Scout" program. Earl learned out door skills on various camping trips, both summer and winter, with the Scouts. One over night outing was to Larsmont, Minnesota on Lake Superior. This was a fishing village and in the winter the fishermen cut large holes in the ice to enable them access the water to fish. Earl's brother George, tested the ice in one of the holes and fell in the icy water. A friend and fellow scout, Rudy Forsman grabbed a tree branch and fished George out. Rudy later became a Baptist General Conference pastor. Dr. Johnson's ministry was quite successful and usually once a year had evangelistic meetings. At one of these meetings with evangelistic Harry McCormick Lintz, Earl felt the need to commit his life to Christ. Soon after Earl was baptized.
In 1939, Dr. Johnson was called to Portland, Oregon, to pastor at Temple Baptist Church. Earl Johnson was received into the church membership on September 5, 1939 by letter. Earl spent his junior and senior year at Grant High School. Earl spent a lot of time at the Northeast YMCA enjoying the work and activities there. While working at the YMCA, Earl made some contacts with some professional mountain climbers from the Mazama Club. When Earl graduated from Grant High, they had the graduation ceremony at the Civic Auditorium. Right after the ceremony, the Mazama's took Earl and a group from the "Y" up to climb Mt. Hood. Earl said he will never forget the breathtaking view from the top of Hood.
The same year Earl enrolled at Bethel College in St. Paul. That summer he spent two months at Camp Meehan, the YMCA camp at Spirit Lake, Washington. Earl was a counselor for junior high boys. He got to know Harry Truman, who ran the resort next door. Before the camp season began they were making repairs to the boat dock. Harry came over and offered to help with the repairs if we would promise to keep the campers off his property when the camp schedule began. As you probably know, Harry Truman stayed with his lodge when Mt. St. Helens blew its top and lava and ash buried the lodge.
When he first came to Temple, Earl made a good friend of David Carlson. Dave's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Victor Carlson (Anna), were the custodians at church. They lived up on the second floor at the rear of the church in the custodians quarters. Dave called his room, "The House of David." Dave Carlson also was going to attend Bethel that fall. In 1941, Earl and Dave got on the Northern Pacific train together and headed for St. Paul. On December 8, 1941, they learned that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. In the fall of 1942, when they just started their sophomore year, they both decided to go into the service of their country. They figured they would be drafted if they didn't. Dave had signed up in the Navy and Earl went in the Merchant Marines. Earl then headed for Great Neck, New York to Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy. During training, Earl spent a week on the Square Rigged Sailing Ship "Nantucket". The captain on the ship had his nose blown off in World War I and the crew referred to him as Captain Blye. Earl did not see David until years later when the ships they were on happen to dock in the same port of Charleston, South Carolina. (Click Here to see the Honor Roll of Temple Baptist Church personal who served in the military during WW II.)
Returning to Portland in the fall of 1946. Earl attended Multnomah College and worked part-time at a few places. Earl then attended University of Oregon. The graduation ceremony was held in Eugene and Earl was accompanied to the ceremony by his girl friend, Pearl Hanson and his mother Ruth. Pearl had just graduated from Jefferson High and went on to Lewis and Clark College and Earl continued to work for a couple of years. Earl and Pearl were married at Temple on March 17, 1951. Pearl was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Hanson (Myrtle) who were long time members of Temple. Dr. Johnson performed the ceremony. During their marriage they had 4 boys: Merle Linus, Craig, Mark David and Tim. Merle joined the Navy before going to Bethel College and Craig and Mark went to Bethel right after high school. Tim attended Portland State for one year before going to Bethel.
While working at Rudie Wilhelm, Earl ran into Mr. Lanier Brugh who offered Earl a job as office manager. Mr. Brugh ran a trucking company that specialized in delivering US Mail under contract. Earl left Wilhelm and went to work for Brugh Trucking. Earl ended up working 25 years for Brugh. After leaving Brugh Trucking Company, Earl has been in the Real Estate business in Northeast Portland. Earl and Pearl are long time members of Temple and dearly love their Lord and Savior and are one of the sweetest couples that I have had the pleasure of knowing.
Earl and Pearl celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on March 17, 2001.
Testimony of the Johnson's Faith
Our testimony can be captioned in these favorite Hymns Of The Church. These hymns are not only great worship songs but they have a great message and unquestionable theology.
"Day by Day and with each passing moment" (we have learned to say) "Trust and Obey, for there is no other way" (but to rely upon) "The Wonderful Grace of Jesus" (and be reminded) "Through it all, we've learned to trust in Jesus" (and become like) "Children of the Heavenly Father" (and ask) "Precious Lord, take my hand" (and be reminded) "All the way my Savior leads me" (and say) "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound" (and sing).............
Thanks to God for my Redeemer,-----------Thanks for all thou dost provide,
Thanks for times now but a memory,--------Thanks for Jesus by my side,
Thanks for pleasant balmy springtime,-------Thanks for dark and dreary fall,
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,----------Thanks for peace within my soul,
Thanks for Roses by the wayside,-----------Thanks for thorns their stems contain,
Thanks for homes and thanks for firesides,---Thanks for hope that sweet refrain,
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,-------Thanks for heavenly peace with thee,
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,----------- Thanks for all eternity.
Words by August Storm, 1891
The text and photos for this account was taken from the memoirs of Earl Johnson, with permission.