Cover photo for Deb Johnson's Obituary
Deb Johnson Profile Photo
1955 Deb 2021

Deb Johnson

August 11, 1955 — November 8, 2021

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Debra “Deb” Ellen Johnson

Debra “Deb” Ellen Johnson, 66, Grand Forks, joined her beloved husband in heaven on November 8, 2021. She left us like she would have wanted, quietly and without any undue attention. Her unique style as a mother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend was like no other, and her memory will always live in our hearts.

Debra Ellen Skaar was born to Gordon and Nettie Moe Skaar on August 11, 1955 in Rugby, ND. She married Gary Johnson on September 1, 1974 at the North Prairie Lutheran Church, rural Leeds, ND. 

Deb grew up on a farm in Hurricane Lake Township, Pierce County, ND. She was active in the Anxious Annie’s 4-H club, Luther League and was the pianist for many years at the Hurricane Lake Lutheran Church. She graduated from Leeds High School in 1973. She then attended the Lake Region Junior College receiving a Licensed Practical Nursing degree in August 1974. She later attended the University of North Dakota obtaining her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1998 while working simultaneously at the hospital and raising her family.

Deb worked at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, ND for 42 years. Most of those years she worked as a direct patient care nurse where her patients and colleagues loved her caring spirit. She ended her career as a Clinical Informaticist.

Deb and Gary shared a love for the North Dakota badlands and visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park multiple times a year. It was here that their love for wild horses deepened and whenever possible, they were on the hunt to see what bands of horses they could spot.

Deb’s sewing skills learned in 4-H and FHA developed into a passion for quilting. Over the years, Deb created countless heirloom pieces aweing the friends and family who received them.

The last 3 years of her life she showed a determination and resilience like no other as she bravely fought cancer until losing this battle on Monday, November 8.

She is survived by her children, Blaine (Jessie) Johnson of Bismarck, ND and Kari Johnson of Fargo, ND and her grandchildren, Isaiah, Keira, Wynter, Brianna, and Aiden.  She is also survived by two sisters, Kristy (Jeff Lipsky) Skaar of Vail, AZ, Amy (Jeff) Shaffner of Santa Maria, CA; two brothers, Riley Skaar and Neil (Tracy) Skaar of Princeton, MN and former sister-in-law, Maren Ehley of Linton, ND. She will especially be deeply missed by her family and all of her Altru colleagues and friends, her “Women at the Well” supporters and her fellow quilting friends.  

She will see her departed family in heaven including her husband Gary, and her mother and father, Gordon and Nettie “Peggy” Skaar.

A celebration of Deb’s life will be held Saturday, November 20, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Free Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, ND. Visitation will be held Friday, November 19, 2021, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Amundson Funeral Home of Grand Forks. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery or Trinity Free Lutheran Church.



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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation and Prayer Service

Friday, November 19, 2021

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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