12:05 AM AKST, February 15, 2012
Spearfish: Walter H. Johnson, 85, Spearfish, and formerly of Newell, died Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, at the Spearfish Regional Hospital.
Memorial services will be 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, at the Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis with Pastor Del Neumeister officiating. Inurnment follows at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis with military honors by the Sturgis Veterans Honor Guard.
Memorials have been established to the South Dakota FFA Foundation and the Newell VFW.
Walter was born Aug. 28, 1926, at Clark, to A.H. "Harold" and Alice (Petersen) Johnson. He was educated in Clark County country school and graduated from Clark High School in 1944. He was in the U.S. Army from 1945 until 1947.
Walt received a BS degree from SDSU in Agricultural Education in 1952 and his Master's Degree in Ag Education and Administration in 1963.
In 1952, Walt was hired as Vocational Agriculture Instructor for the Newell Schools in Newell. He taught there until 1968. He became the High School Principal at Newell in 1963 until 1980.
He married Delores Divich on June 14, 1953, at Doland.
In 1980 until 1981 he taught Vocational Agriculture for Meade 46-1 in Sturgis, and served as President of the Vo-Ag Instructors for District 5.
Walt served as Superintendent of the Polo High School in Orient, from 1981 until 1988.
Walt retired from education in 1988 and returned to Newell with his wife, De.
Walt enjoyed working with youth. From 1955 until 1980, he taught Fire Arms Hunter Safety in Newell. He coached youth baseball and started the youth softball program in the Newell area. He was a driving force in building the Newell softball/football complex and starting the men's softball association in Newell and the Northern Hills Area.
Walt was a member of the Newell Community Club from 1952 until 2003. He served as secretary and president several times. He served as secretary-treasurer of the Newell Ram Sale for 49 years. He also served on the Newell Economic Development Corporation, the Newell Museum, American Legion and the Newell PTA.
He was an active member of the Newell VFW, on the Board of New Dawn of Vale since 2000, member of the Butte County Historical Society, Newell Field and Home Happenings, High Plains Heritage Center of Spearfish, Masonic Lodge of Spearfish, Spearfish Senior Center, Secretary-Treasurer of the Newell FFA Alumni Association and President of the FFA Foundation.
He was a member and officer of the Newell Golf Club and assisted in building the course.
In 1992, Walt and De were presented the Sheep-O-Rama Award for their support of the sheep industry - having never owned a sheep. In 1994, they were presented the "Friend of Education" Award from the Newell School and the Booster Club "Outstanding Fans" award in 1999.
As a retired educator he continued to work with the youth in the area. He assisted and coached FFA students with the judging activities. He served as a judge for Science Fairs, speech contests and county fairs.
Walt was an active member of the First Congregational Church in Newell for many years and served as moderator and trustee. He was a member of the First Congregational Church in Belle Fourche at the time of his death.
At the National FFA Convention in 2007, Walt was awarded the National American Degree for his 56 years of service to the FFA.
On Aug. 28, 2009, on his 83rd birthday, Walt and his son, Mike, went on the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., for World War II Veterans.
Survivors include his wife, De Johnson, Spearfish; one son, Michael M. Johnson, Vermillion; sister, Lucille Anderson, Fergus Falls, Minn.; brothers-in-law, Chris (Sue) Divich, San Antonio, Texas, Duane (Phyllis) Divich, San Antonio, Texas, Dick (Jeane) Divich, Rapid City.
Condolences may be sent to the family at kinkadefunerals.com.
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