June 29, 1937 - June 7, 2017


Ben Arlen Johnson, age 79, St. Cloud, MN, died Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at his home surrounded by his family.

Funeral services will be Saturday, June 17, 2017 at 11:00 AM at Salem Lutheran Church, St. Cloud, MN. Visitation will be Friday, June 16, 2017 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM at Benson Funeral Home, St. Cloud, MN and one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday. He will be buried at Christina Lake Cemetery, Lund Township, MN with his great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and sister.

Ben was born June 29, 1937 in Melby, MN to Benjamin Arvid and Ruth Ulrika (Werner) Johnson. He was baptized and confirmed at Christina Lake Church, Evansville, MN, one of the first Lutheran churches in the area. Ben received his elementary education in Melby, secondary education at Evansville, college education at Gustavus Adolphus College, seminary at Chicago Lutheran Seminary, and doctoral education at Harvard University. He later studied at Oxford University.

He married Suzanna Wasgatt on May 13, 1960.

Ben was ordained into the Christian ministry by the Lutheran Church in America on May 25, 1965 in New Haven, Connecticut. The ordaining bishop was Karl Olander. His ordination sponsor was Henry Horn. Ben served as Professor and Dean of Hamma School of Theology of Wittenberg University in Ohio, Senior Pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in St. Cloud, MN and as Professor and President of the Lutheran Bible Institute in Irvine, CA. He also served as Interim Pastor of several congregations, most recently at Fron Lutheran Church in Starbuck, MN and Leaf Mountain Church in Clitherall, MN and as Pastor of his childhood church, Christina Lake Church in Evansville, MN.

He is survived by his wife, Suzanna; children, Samuel Johnson; Jennie Ruth (John) Warren; Krister (Michelle) Johnson; Jesse (Kelly) Johnson; seven grandchildren, Dwayne, Cole, Luke, Matty, Sylvia, Peyton and Ben; three great grandchildren, Maliyah, Isadore and Athena; and sisters, Elaine Weber and Evelye Thomas.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and two sisters, Bernice Lenore and Marilyn “Mim”.

Pallbearers will be his grandchildren.

Memorials are preferred to Salem Foundation, Christina Lake Church Cemetery Fund or Lutheran World Relief.