Roger A. Johnson, 62, of Sioux Falls, died on Dec. 5, 2020, at Prince of Peace Transitional Unit, Sioux Falls. A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Interment will be at Hillsview Cemetery in Westport, S.D. in May 2021.
Roger Allen Johnson made his stage debut on May 2, 1958, in Aberdeen, S.D., being born to Ben and Lola (Bain) Johnson. He answered his final curtain call on Sat., Dec. 5, 2020, at the age of 62 years.
Roger and his family moved to Sioux Falls, S.D., in 1961, and then to De Smet, S.D., in 1970. He moved back to Sioux Falls, S.D., in 1977 to attend college and made it his permanent home.
Roger enjoyed entertaining others from a very young age. His vibrant imagination developed into a love of impersonation and passion for the theatre. He began his drama training while attending De Smet High School, graduating in 1976. He participated in both plays and musicals, as well as fulfilling various duties with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant. He continued acting while attending Augustana College, until his graduation in 1982. After that, he began performing through the Sioux Falls Community Playhouse and the Worthing Dinner Theatre, developing many lasting friendships. Our family favorites were his roles in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and “Grease,” while his personal most cherished role was that of portraying Lennie Small in “Of Mice and Men.”
Roger worked part time as a security guard at First National Bank and part time at George Boom Funeral Home while attending college. After college, Roger worked for Citibank as a Credit Analyst for twenty years. He was currently working for Cigna Home Delivery Pharmacy as a Certified Pharmacy Technician, also for 20 years.
In his free time, Roger enjoyed game night with friends and weekly Sunday dinners out as a group. Perhaps his habit of always being late was actually an opportunity to make a grander entrance. He loved gourmet foods and trying new things and was proud to be considered a coffee connoisseur. He was grateful for those who allowed him to experiment with their taste buds. He also enjoyed reading, attending movies and taking long drives. He was often referred to as the Gentle Giant.
The pride and joy of Roger’s life was his family and friends. He was an amazing uncle to his 12 nieces and nephews. While being a kid at heart, his imagination and improv abilities led them on many spectacular adventures. He introduced them to the superhero realm, and they all shared his love of Superman and fear of kryptonite. He gave them the freedom to be whomever they chose. They are all professional zombie hunters, vampire slayers, jedis and trekkies because of him.
Roger’s favorite holiday was Halloween, and he always made sure each child had the exact costume they dreamed of. He would trick or treat with them, often in full costume himself. He also loved Christmas, introducing his nieces and nephews to the art of gingerbread cookie baking and decorating. He was a very generous person and enjoyed gifting others.
He is survived by his parents, Ben and Lola Johnson of De Smet, S.D.; siblings, Denise (Eldon) LaBore of Florence, S.D., Pam Gutzmer of Garretson, S.D. and Keith (Amy) Johnson of Worthington, Minn.; cherished friends Tim Strong and Beth Rusch and Scott and Sarah DeRuyter. His legacy will live on through his 12 nieces and nephews and 19 great nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Herman and Mildred Johnson and Ernest and Etta Bain; his brother, Ben Jr. and his nephew, Zachary Eichstadt.
We would like to thank everyone for their prayers and the kindness shown during this difficult time.