James Edward (Jim) Johnston Sr., 94, died on April 9, 2022 at Lutheran Sunset Home, Grafton, after a short illness.

Jim was born December 4, 1927 in Grafton, ND to Milton and Hazel (Digness) Johnston and graduated from Grafton High School in 1945. Jim served with the 11th Airborne Division during World War II in Japan. He earned a BS in Agricultural Engineering from the University of MN. Jim married Marion Ruth Crawmer on March 19, 1949 and worked for Allis Chalmers in West Allis, WI before serving at Camp Atterbury near Indianapolis, IN during the Korean War. Jim and Marion made their home in Grafton, ND after operating a potato, sugar beet and wheat farm. They are the parents of three sons, James Jr. (Linda), Grafton, ND; Scott (Vicki), Alexandria, MN; and Richard (Helena), Fargo, ND.

Jim was a member of the Federated Church of Grafton, ND and the Lutheran Church of Desert Hills, Green Valley, AZ. He has been very active in many organizations, including serving as National Chairman of the Potato Board and State Vice Chairman of the ND Farm Bureau. He received the Meritorious Service Award from the Red River Valley Potato Growers Association for his achievements and service to the potato industry. He also taught his three sons and many grandchildren to drive on the farm (at a very young age).

He enjoyed spending time with his family, winters in Green Valley, AZ, friends in ND and AZ, golfing and playing bridge.

Jim is survived and will be sadly missed by his three sons, nine grandchildren, Jason (Sarah) Johnston, Grafton; Kevin (Tondi) Johnston, Fargo and Brian (Alecia) Johnston, Zionville, IN; Julie (Nicholas) Williams, Clement, FL; Shane (Sarah) Johnston and Kelly (Aaron) Bumgarner, Alexandria, MN; Megan (Joseph) Johnston Flanders, Cannon Falls, MN; Lindsay (Andrew) Holmgren, Hopkins, MN; and Ellen (Zack) Word, Papillion, NE; and 23 great-grandchildren: Aria Braaten and James Johnston, Kinley Johnston, Addison and Levi Johnston, Jeremy, Jacob, Olivia and Sofia Williams, Blake, Ella, Charlie and Lola Johnston, Cora, Carson and Liesel Bumgarner, Benjamin and William Flanders, Cohen, Elsa and Emma Holmgren and Brooks and Piper Word. He is also survived by his two sisters Natalie Meier, Grand Forks, ND; Mary Ellen Heising, Santa Rosa, CA and many much loved nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Marion, his parents, Milton and Hazel Johnston; in-laws, Haskell and Ruth Crawmer; stepmother, Ellen Crawmer; brothers-in-law Leroy Meier, Donald Heising, Duane, William and Donald Crawmer and Robert Ebenreiter; sisters-in-law Marian Crawmer, Marguerite (Peg) Ebenreiter, Ruby Crawmer and Harriett Crawmer and nephews Theodore Ebenreiter, James D LeQuire and Daniel Crawmer.

Visitation will be from 4-6 p.m. with a prayer service at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 6 at Tollefson Funeral Home, Grafton, ND. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday May 7 at the Federated Church in Grafton, ND. Interment will be at Crescent Cemetery in Grafton. Military rites will be provided by Grafton’s American Legion and the North Dakota National Guard Honor Guard.

Memorials are suggested at the Carnegie Regional Library (audio books), Federated Church, Unity Hospital, Sunset Lutheran Home, or Red River Valley Hospice.

Tollefson’s Funeral Home in Grafton is making arrangements.