R. Kenmore (Ken) Johnson
Ken passed away unexpectedly on his 78th birthday, July 9, 2019. Ken loved to slalom waterski and completed his final birthday ski at home on Coon Lake shortly before suffering a massive heart event. Ken was with his beloved wife of 53 years, Elouise.
Ken was born July 9, 1941. Named Robert Kenmore Johnson by his parents Emil and Franzell Johnson, he had one sister, DeAnna Bourdaughs, who passed in 2014. Ken grew up in Falcon Heights and graduated from Alexander Ramsey HS in 1959. He then began college at Gustavus Adolphus, where he met his future wife, Elouise (Anderson). He graduated college in 1963 and began working at IDS (now Ameriprise), however continued to visit Gustavus every weekend, staying with his fraternity brothers, until Elouise graduated in 1966. The two were married in June, settling in New Brighton where they raised their two daughters, Dana and Krista.
Both Ken and Elouise’s fathers died in the 1960s. Subsequently, Ken graciously stepped up to help fill those voids. He played an especially significant role helping to guide and mentor Elouise’s youngest siblings, Paul and Melanie. As a natural leader and mentor, he humbly became the loved and admired family patriarch of their large extended family.
In 1982, Ken along with two business partners and his wife Elouise, founded Computerized Mailing Systems (CMS), which evolved to a database company, Catalog Marketing Services. Ken remained CEO of CMS until it was sold in 2009. Ken loved CMS and the people that worked there. He was passionate about helping the employees grow and they in turn were very loyal and devoted to CMS.
Ken tirelessly donated his time and creative problem-solving skills to the causes and communities he deeply cared about.
In 1998, Ken and Elouise moved into the “dream home” they built on Coon Lake, next door to the original Johnson Family cabin. He was finally able to enjoy lake living every day and was happiest when their beautiful home was filled with people, love and laughter.
Ken’s greatest joy was his family. He adored his daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren. They were his greatest blessing. He was actively involved in all of their lives, rarely missing any of their ski, track, volleyball, hockey or soccer games. He was their biggest cheerleader and beyond proud of each and every one of them.
Survived by his wife, Elouise. Daughters: Dana Cossette (Andy) of Plymouth and Krista Fragola (Jamie) of Orono and his treasured grandchildren; Sarah & Matt Cossette and Francesca & Ruby Fragola. Ken is also survived by a large family of loving sisters and brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins.
The Celebration of a Life well-lived will be held on Wednesday, July 17 at Our Saviors Lutheran Church, 19001 Jackson St. NE East Bethel, MN 55011. Visitation begins at 10 AM, followed by a service at 11 AM and a light luncheon. Expect delays on Hwy 65. Use Waze!