On January 8, 2022, Kenneth Dean Johnson passed away at his home in Deer Lodge, Montana surrounded by his four children and family at the age of 75. Ken was born in Deer Lodge on November 14, 1946, to Allen Palmer Johnson and Marian Ruth (Christoffersen) Johnson.
He graduated from Powell County High School in 1965. After accepting a full-ride scholarship to play basketball at Montana State University, he transferred to Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, and graduated with a BA in 1969. Ken then began his career in education, teaching, and coaching. After leaving education, he became the proud owner/operator of Captain’s Quarters Dry Stak Marina in Le Claire, Iowa for 25 years. Ken returned to his beloved hometown, residing near his family’s ranch, in his beautiful log cabin built on their original homestead. He enjoyed spending his time outdoors, hunting, fishing, collecting horns, working on the family ranch, and tending to his land. Throughout those years, he spent time traveling and capturing pictures of beautiful scenery and special moments with loved ones. In his later years, he found a passion for gathering Montana moss agates, tumbling and polishing them to perfection with his significant other Barb Simonsen. Ken was a devoted father and grandfather who made many trips to the midwest to spend time with his children and grandchildren. He will always be remembered as an advisor, role model, listener, and supporter of all their activities.
Ken is survived by his four loving children and 12 grandchildren Tonja Lynelle Ross (Logan, Connor), Dean Allen Johnson (Chloe, Madelyn, Mason), Kyle Robert and (Kari) Johnson (Koby, Tyson, Kendal, Trey, Presley), Austin Shane and (Adrienne) Johnson (Arley, Parker); and his four siblings John Johnson, Kay and (Carl) Hoyt, Dave and (Barb) Johnson, Cindy Clawson; and many nieces and nephews. Ken was preceded in death by his parents Allen and Marian Johnson.
Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at the Pen Convention Center, 925 Main St., Deer Lodge, MT 59722 with a memorial service to follow at 11 a.m. at the Pen Convention Center. Kenneth will be laid to rest next to his parents at Hillcrest Cemetery during a private service for family. Flowers can be delivered to Axelson Funeral Home by Friday, January 14th at 4:00 p.m.
Please visit below to offer a condolence or share a memory of Ken.
Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Ken and his family.
Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.
Karin Slaughtner says
What a loss. Kenny was a great person. Always friendly and kind. He always had a spark in his eys., and quite a sense of humor. He will be missed by many.
I have fond memories of Kenny from our high school days and of the times he came to my hometown and was talked into square dancing.
My condolences to his family,
Bonnie and John Hoos says
Fond memories of Ken’s visit to our cottage in Canada in the summer of 2014
We shall treasure Thanksgiving 2019 at Ken’s log cabin
with Austin, Adrienne, Arley and Parker.
Bonnie & John Hoos
(Austin’s in laws)
Clarence D. "Skip" Murphy says
Many great memories of Kenny during our school days in Deer Lodge. Drag racing on I90 before it was completed! Driving through all of the different mountain roads in the area around the valley. Our years at PCHS. Always sad
when a fellow classmate passes. Rest in Peace Ken.
Carl Hoyt says
Ken and I were friends for 55 years. I will always think of him as one of my best friends. His family is wonderful and a legacy to Ken.
Rick Malone says
Rest In Peace my friend, the only man I’ve known that could herd elk! It’s been a privilege to have spent a moment in time with you!
Gods speed to open pastures!
Rick Malone and Family
Mark Doerrfeld says
So sorry for your loss, I worked at Palmer for 15 years with Karla. Always great things said about the kids.
Jesse Foster says
I’ve known Ken my whole life as he was close friends with my Dad. I grew up hunting and fishing with him and my Dad. He was there with me when I shot my first elk. He was also there several years ago when my Dad and I shot a pair of elk together…a very memorable day as we almost got stuck in a snowstorm afterwards. I also spent time at his marina on my road trips back and forth to Purdue. The memories I have of him are beyond count. He was a very kind, fun, and generous man. He will be greatly missed.
KATHRYN FOSTER says
David and I are having a hard time conveying the sudden loss we feel of our very good friend, Kenny. From David’s high school days of hunting after school with him to them both building their mountain cabin dream homes. I became a part of that close bond in 1985 when David and I got married. We shared many hunting, skiing, snowmobiling and boating adventures as well as visits back and forth to whereever the other was at. The endless road trips thru the mountains and around various parts of Montana and beyond with Ken have and will, in the future, provide many treasured memories. I believe that the only closure we will have with his passing will come, when we “two” join him in heaven!
Jody Ricks says
Kyle and Austin please accept our condolences on the loss of your father, from your your cousins in the Ricks family
Carolyn Schwantz says
So sorry to hear of Ken’s passing. Our sincere sympathies to Kyle and Austin and families. My heart also goes out to Karla, a very dear friend of mine, who is also feeling the lost of her sons’ father and the memories she will always hold dear.
Bev Gomez says
RIP KJ. What a great and kind friend you were. You will be missed Kenny. 💕😢