Benjamin Alexander Johnson


On January 2, 2021 Ben Johnson, 48, of Esko, died after a valiant, year-long battle with Glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. He was born on May 20, 1972 in Superior, WI, where he also grew up. Ben attended Superior Senior High School and graduated in 1990.

Ben met the love of his life, Sarah, in 2000 when they both worked at the USPS Remote Encoding Center. They were married July 17, 2004 and welcomed their son, Declan, in January 2011. Ben and Sarah were constant companions. A love of Irish music created a shared hobby when they started playing as an Irish/Scottish band called Sassanach. From there, Ben found like-minded musicians at Sir Benedict’s and Carmody Irish Pub where they played in weekly jam sessions of traditional Irish and Scottish tunes. Ben was a talented bodhran (Irish drum) and concertina player, and before his diagnosis had taken up the guitar.

Ben worked as a Six Sigma Black Belt Process Analyst for United Health Group/Optum, where he had been employed for 15 years.

Ben’s true passion was his family. Seldom was one member seen without the other two. They enjoyed traveling together, and had a particular affinity for water parks, traveling as far as Niagara Falls to visit a new one.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents; his father, Roger Johnson and step-brother, Allan Wilson.

Ben is survived by his wife, Sarah, and son, Declan; an adult daughter, Aari; his mother, Grace (Dale) Wilson; step-mother, Peg Johnson; in-laws, John and Ann Haydon; sister, Liz (Ian) Friedrich; step-siblings, Deb (Mike) Mitchell, Quentin (Jacinta) Roth, Sharon Wilson, Paul (Geralyn) Wilson, Michael Wilson, and Jennifer (Phil Mortello) Wilson; many nieces and nephews; and four fur companions who brought him so much comfort and love.

A private family service will be held at this time with a celebration of life to be scheduled when it is safe to do so. Cards and letters of condolence may be sent to the family c/o Atkins-Northland Funeral Home, 801 14th Street, Cloquet, MN 55720.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Best Christmas Ever (BCE) at and choose the Ben Johnson Memorial Fund option.

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