Provided Photo

July 9, 1931 – January 17, 2022

John Gerald Johnson, age 90, of Lemmon, SD, passed away January 17, 2022 at the West River Regional Medical Center in Hettinger, ND.
He was born on July 9, 1931 in Perkins County, South Dakota, to Oscar and Hilma (Sandwick) Johnson, who homesteaded there in a sod home southeast of the Burdick school in Burdick Township. John was the last born of eight children. The family moved to the place on the North Grand River where he attended grade school at the Burdick and Johnny Butte School where his sister Hilma taught. John graduated from Lemmon High School in 1949 and then attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
John returned to his home place with his parents and brother, Andrew, to help out on the family ranch, when he met his future wife Shirley Schackow. After they were married in 1954, he worked construction, helped build White Butte Road and also helped with the land leveling for Lemmon Livestock.
To this union with Shirley, three rowdy boys, Gary, Bob & Mike were born and things began to happen! John, Shirley and the boys finally settled on the place they would call home until his passing. In 1961, he started to build what became his ranch and eventually a horse training facility and breeding center. His passion was always horses, the faster the better! John was the leading trainer at several racetracks in the Northwest. He loved going to and racing horses all over the country, making many great and lifelong friends in the horse industry. He had racehorses from the early 1960’s to present day, while owning some truly great ones.
John’s first great quarter horse he ran with success was a palomino stallion by the name of Go Go Dakota, who won Grand Champion at halter in the morning and the QH Derby that same afternoon. His latest horse, Faster Than Hasta, is a winner of many stakes races and has made over $248,000 in winnings to date. In between these two great horses, John had a list, a mile long, of successful runners that he was also very proud of. His other great love was raising colts out of his race mares. One of his greatest accomplishments was receiving the award from the AQHA as a 50 year Legacy Breeder of Quarter Horses.
He was a member of the South Dakota Quarter Horse Racing Association, where he served as Vice President and board member for more than 30 years. John also served as a director for Grand River Grazing Association for many years and was a member of the Rosebud Lutheran Church and he also served on the Burdick Township Board of Supervisors.
Anywhere John G. went, there wasn’t a person that he did not know, or if he didn’t know you, he was your friend by the end of the day. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. He was truly “one-of-a-kind!”
John is survived by his wife of 68 years, Shirley; sons, Gary (Jodi) Johnson and Bob (Shilo) Johnson, all of Lemmon, SD, and Mike (Linda) Johnson, Hettinger, ND; eight grandchildren, Colt Schafer, Anna Kingstad (Luke Jantzen), Samantha Johnson, Lance (Megan) Johnson, Annie (Andy) Roehl, Cheyann Demoney, Katelyn Eisenbeis and Alexis Johnson; two great-grandchildren, Juno Roehl and Levi Johnson; one sister, Martina Ham; brothers-in-law, Bob (Benita) Schakow and Earl (Anita) Stugelmeyer and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Hilma; siblings, Anna (Lars) Isdal, Andrew (Esther) Johnson, Alice (Jennings) Kettleson, Oscar Johnson and Hilma (John) Randen, Muriel (Ray) Seidel; daughter-in-law, Shelly Johnson; brother-in-law, Donald Ham; sister-in-law, Sharon Stugelmeyer; and grandson, Cory Demoney.
Condolences may be sent and the livestream viewed at