Harry Lee Johns of Osceola died Nov. 21, 2020, at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., after a battle with Covid 19. He was 75.
Harry was born Oct. 24, 1945, in Kittanning, Pa., to Herman and Gloria (Pepler) Johns. He joined his older brother Larry.
Harry spent his childhood growing up in the hills of Western Pennsylvania in the 50’s. His neighborhood was made up of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Harry was especially close to his cousins. Stories of trips to camp with Grandpap and Grandma Pepler gave him much happiness.
Harry graduated from Kittanning High School in 1963. Harry wrestled all four years. After high school there was factory work, college, and he joined the Marines in 1966. During basic training at Parris Island SC he injured his knee which led to an Honorable Discharge and ultimately probably saved his life.
Harry ended up at UWS in Superior, Wis. He met a farm girl in a folk dance class and at a fraternity party one night walked up to her and said “I’m going to marry you.” Well he did. Harry married Doris Olson on a very snowy Friday evening at Bethany Lutheran Church in Dresser. It was Jan. 21, 1972. Doris was helping her family after the death of her mom so with no job, they lived on the farm with Doris’s family.
With persistence Harry got hired at Andersen Windows in March of 1972. He enjoyed many Andersen Window friendships, and had 100’s of carpool stories.
While working at Andersen’s Harry also started coaching high school wrestling. He was passionate about coaching wrestling and coached at Osceola and St. Croix Falls, where with Keith O’Donnell he coached the 1990-91 team to an undefeated season. Winning Regional, Sectional, and Division 2 State Champions. Harry also coached at Luck, the combined team of Frederic, Luck and Grantsburg, and with Mike Kelly at Amery. Harry loved working with these young men and enjoyed continuing friendships with them off the mat hunting and fishing. Harry was especially proud of the number of wrestlers he coached who went on to become coaches themselves.
After retiring from Andersen Harry enjoyed spending time at his hunting cabin near Herbster, Wis.
On Nov. 22, 2005, Harry suffered sudden cardiac arrest and was amazingly saved by an Osceola police officer with a portable defibrillator and Osceola EMTs. He was taken to Regions Hospital where he had successful bypass surgery and was given 15 “bonus years.”
In 2006 Harry began working for the Wisconsin DNR. His job as a creel clerk required doing a survey on one lake each year. He collected data by interviewing fishermen and counting fish. It was a perfect fit. A boat, water, fish, and BS! After a diagnosis of leukemia in 2017 he decided to just sit in his own boat!
Harry was preceded in death by his parents, Herman Johns and Gloria Moffatt.
He is survived by his wife, Doris; his brother, Larry (Mary); sisters-in-law, Julie (Harry) Munson, Christine (Paul) Greene; brother-in-law, Ronny (Linda) Olson; his children, Zach and Amy; and his grandchildren, Nick Perronteau and Jackson Johns. Harry is also survived by his dear cousins, extended family, friends, wrestling family, hunting and fishing partners, and anyone who wanted to hear a story. Please continue to share the stories in his memory.
Because of Covid 19 a private family service will be held. We hope to plan a celebration of Harry’s life when times are better.
Funeral arrangements serviced by Grandstrand Funeral Home, Osceola.