Akkerman-Ingebrand • Mora, MN

Rock-Ingebrand • Braham, MN

Mora, MN • 320-679-1933

Braham, MN • 320-396-2121



Glen V. Johnstone of Mora, passed away on Friday, April 12, 2019 at his home.  He was 90 years old.

MEMORIAL MASS will be held at 11:00 am., Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mora with celebrant Fr. Thomas Grafsgaard.

MEMORIAL VISITATION will be held from 4:00-7:00 pm on Monday, April 22, 2019 at the Akkerman Ingebrand Funeral Home and 1 hour prior to the service at the church.

PRAYER SERVICE will be held at 7:00 pm on Monday following visitation.

INURNMENT will be in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Mora.

Memorials are preferred to Mora Dollars for Scholars (400 Maple Avenue East, Mora, MN 55051), or the American Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, JDRF  (26 Broadway, 14th floor, New York, NY 10004).

Glen Johnstone, of Mora, passed away peacefully on Friday, April 12, 2019 at his home surrounded by his loving family. He was 90 years old.

Glen was born on October 22, 1928 on a farm in Haybrook Township north of Mora. His parents were Gilbert and Ida Johnstone. The family moved to Mora after the death of his father. Glen graduated from Mora High School in 1947 and opened a small service station in town. He enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Korea for a year in 1951-52. He returned to Mora where he and Jean were married on December 27, 1952 at St. Mary’s Church. His business, Glens’ Tire, began in earnest at this time. Glen remained at the helm of the business until his retirement in 1990.

Glen and Jean enjoyed 66 years of marriage and were blessed with eleven children, Kathryn Grafsgaard (Dave Olson), Washburn WI; Margie Johnstone, Mora MN (friend Bob Hooper); Mary Miller (deceased); Dan Johnstone, Elk River MN; David Johnstone (Pam), Mora; Barbara Johnstone (deceased ); Teresa Johnstone, Dolores, CO (friend Jason Petruska); Angela Nistler (Paul), Bemidji MN; Mark Johnstone (Stacy), North Branch MN; Anne Marie Johnstone (Jim Koepsel), Idaho Springs CO; and Eric Johnstone (Laurie), Idaho Springs CO.

Glen was preceded in death by his daughters, Barbara Johnstone and Mary Miller, his parents, brother LaVerne, and two infant brothers Delbert and Wallace.

Glen was an engaged, loving family man. He and Jean would load all of the children into their large vehicle for weekend trips to the lake cabin near Brainard, MN, summer road trip vacations out west, ski trips and much more. Glen worked hard all of his life to provide for his family, setting an example for his children of the value of hard work and responsibility.

Glen and Jean were lifelong members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Glen was active in the Knights of Columbus at St. Mary’s, the Mora History Center, the Mora Conservation Club, and the JayCee’s. He served on the Mora School Board in the 1970’s, and was dedicated to education.

An athlete and avid outdoorsman, Glen was instrumental in establishing the Vasaloppet USA ski race in Mora in the early 1970’s. This event continues to inspire community spirit and the advancement of Nordic skiing in the state and region. He served as President of the Vasaloppet Board from 1975-88. Glen received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the MN Nordic Ski Association in 2006. He was inducted to the Mora Mustang Hall of Fame in 2010 in recognition of his contributions as a student athlete. Glen completed the Worldloppet cross country ski marathon; a series of 10 races, with the last event – the Gatineau Loppet in Ontario, Canada. He was a skilled and adventuresome alpine skier as well, teaching most of his children the sport.

The land where Glen was born was very important to him and later to Jean and the rest of the family. A deer “shack” was built in the 1960’s, and the family had many adventures “up north” in the woods and on the trails. He enjoyed planting and then later harvesting Christmas trees. Glen was an avid hunter, and also enjoyed hunting trips out west with his sons and friends. He had an opportunity to crew on a cross-Atlantic sailboat voyage in 1992.

Glen, Jean and the family later enjoyed many happy years at their home in Hovland, MN on the shore of Lake Superior. He and Jean were dedicated volunteers on the Border Route Trail between the US and Canada, the Lake Superior Hiking Trail, and all of the trail-making near Mora.

A voracious reader, Glen had many interests and shared his knowledge and ideas on many topics, history in particular. His books were very important to him. Glen was a lifelong learner, he had a strong interest in world events, travel and art and remained conversant on many topics until the end of his life. His wood carvings, drawings and paintings will be treasured by his family for years to come. A quiet and humble man, Glen was always ready with a listening ear, insights and assistance if needed. When asked about his favorite memories, he responded most frequently “pulling the kids around the lake (on waterskis)” at the cabin, which he did for endless hours on his limited weekend time off.

Glen is survived by his wife of 66 years, Jean; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sisters, Elaine Johnson and Irene Dehkes; brothers, Dick Johnstone and Larry (Luda) Johnstone; and many nieces, nephews, other extended family and friends

Those who desire may make donations in Glen’s memory to either Mora Dollars for Scholars at 400 Maple Avenue East, Mora, MN 55051, or the American Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, JDRF 26 Broadway, 14th floor, New York, NY 10004.

The family would like to extend sincere appreciation to the caregivers and volunteers with St. Croix Hospice for the extraordinary care and support that Glen received the past several months.

22 thoughts on “GLEN V. JOHNSTONE”

  1. I didn’t know you personally Mr. Johnstone but THANK YOU! You created such a wonderful thing with the Mora Vasaloppet. If not for this event, I don’t think I would have taken to XC skinng like I did. The way the community comes together for this event is truly special and speaks volumes to all involves. Thank you again for your labor of love for the XC community and Mora.

  2. I did not know Glen personally but am indebted to him for creating such a great ski race. The Mora Vasaloppet is and always has been my favorite marathon of the season, and I never pass up an opportunity to ski the trails or support the foundation. His memory will live on in the wonderful event he helped to found. Peace and prayers in this difficult time.

  3. Thoughts and prayers to the Johnstone family. I have so many memories of Glen and his influence on my life is significant. His starting of the Vasaloppet is what sent me down the path of Nordic ski racing, coaching and involvement in my local ski club. I can still remember seeing the trophies and finishing medals in our house as my dad John Skillicorn prepared for the annual ski race. I can recall watching Glen rollerski through our neighborhood with his rubber tipped ski poles and sparking my interest doing that too. Glen created a legacy for the community and I will ever be grateful for the memories and influence on my life and the community of Mora will be forever grateful. Thank you Glen and may there be blue kick wax and perfect tracks on your next journey.

  4. My sincere sympathy in the loss of dear Glen. I just lost my husband Kert February 28th so I know what you and your family are going through. My prayers and thoughts are with you Jean and your family!

  5. We are sorry for the family and friends (of which we are part ) for the loss of Glen. He did a lot of things for the area, his work with the ski race and support of local groups. I will remember him as the man who taught a lot of young men ( high-school kids) the meaning and value of hard work and what it can do for your future. I always enjoyed talking with Glen and he would bring up how many units him and I did in the cap shop when Lee was out for a few days.

  6. I did not know Glen but Brian often speaks about him and what a wonderful man he was. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

  7. Dear Jean, so sorry to hear of Glen’s passing. You and your family are in our prayers.

  8. Glen created a legacy for the MINNESOTA nordic ski community that will live on forever…
    Thank you to Glen and the entire Johnstone family and the citizens of Mora – a community that embraces the best in sport and people.
    Thank you!

  9. My heart goes out to you Jean, and to your entire family. Glen will live forever in the love and spirit of Mora – which was the town and people he loved and who loved him. In memory with gratitude he is part of us all. Remembered forever.

  10. Jean and family. So sorry for your loss. I know Glen will be missed by many. What a respected man who did so much for the community. Hess losses are so difficult, but the memories make our hearts smile. Blessings to you all.

  11. As a skier I became very interested in learning more about the Vasaloppet when I went to Glen’s Tire shortly after moving to the Mora area. After getting tires for my car in January of 85 I learned about the race and how to volunteer from Glen. And for many years after that helped at various soup/food stops. As my daughters got older they went from helping at the stops to participating in the race.

    Recently Mora has had to say goodbye to some very special people. And I think Glen tops that list. Over the years the pride over the little town of Mora glows more and more because of him come February. Thank you Glen Johnstone and God Bless!

  12. What a wonderful kindhearted man. I recall his tireless efforts in the 70’s to get permission from landowners for a Vasaloppet trail and then to clear the route of obstacles and groom it once the snow began to fall. He was extremely knowledgeable of the woods and terrain. I really didn’t think it was possible, especially that long of a distance. His vision was to keep the race always under local control and not be given away to a large corporate sponsor. This local control has always been a source of pride for the community and the skiers are always amazed by the effort, warmth and hospitality of the town. It was a privilege to serve a term on the Vasaloppet board with him and to enjoy the fruits of his labor by skiing his wonderful trail numerous times. Bless you Glen!!

  13. To the Johnstone family we are so sorry for the loss of this wonderful man. We no longer live in Mora but whenever I mention where I am from, the response is always about the Vasaloppet. I think everyone in the twin cities has been part of that at one time. He did so much for our small town and will be missed by everyone. All our love to you all,

  14. Mr. Johnstone and family were one of the nicest in Mora. Jean played the organ at my wedding in 1985 (thanks again, Jean, great job!) and their son, Dan, was my best friend in our early grade school years and we visited each other quiet often. On one such visit in 1966 we ended up in their basement where there was an old Wurlitzer juke box. Dan pulled some of the 78 records out of it from the 1950s and we played a bunch of them. Mr. Johnstone even gave me some, they are very precious to me and still play them once in a while.

    Then there was the time Dan and I plugged an old telephone into the electrical outlet and the sparks flew when we lifted the receiver…and there were no spare fuses to replace the one that we blew out. Sorry about that! But did Glen get mad at us for popping the last good fuse and almost burning down the house, of course not.

    From what I can recall, Mr. Johnstone was a really great guy and I’m sure he will be missed by everyone. Will be keeping all of you in my daily prayers. God bless.

  15. So sorry for your loss Jean and family. Glen was a wonderful guy that will be so missed by many. He had a heart of gold and did so many good things for your area but the thing I admired him so much for was his humbleness and personality. He is truly a legend to be remembered and you and your whole family are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Take care and lots of hugs to you,
    Keno and Lana Hyrkas (Angie’s friend from Menahga)

  16. I’m so sorry to hear of Glens passing, I was very young when Glen made an impression on me and my brothers, I have found memories of playing with the family when I was about 5 years old, It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any of the family but when the Hoyt family got together Glens name usually came up, and that’s the kind of impact Glen and the family had on us boys, I will cherish the memories, thank you Glen, “They say the dead will live forever, as long as the living remember the dead”, You will always be remembered sir!

  17. Working for Glen was my first job after high school. His oldest daughter and I were friends throughout Jr. and Sr. high and I was invited to their home several times for girl parties. Knowing Kathy may have help me get a job working at Glen’s Tire. Glen was a tough boss but was very kind and patient with me as I made many mistakes in the years I worked for him. What a hard working man; I remember him inspecting and literally throwing hundreds of tires in an afternoon. I worked for Glen during those Vasaloppet planning years. His vision, persistence and dedication to the huge task he was determined to accomplish- the development of the Vasaloppet Cross Country Ski Race, was matched by no one. This event put Mora, MN on the map. RIP dear man.

  18. Jean and family, my condolences to all of you! I loved reading that pulling the kids around on water skies was one of Glen’s favorite memories because I have the most fondest memories of spending time at your cabin and being pulled on skies by Glen! Glen also taught me how to down hill ski. I think of him and still remember his tips when I ski! Glen also taught me how to hot wax my CC skies and because of Glen I absolutely love to ski…water and snow! Growing up with the Johnstone family in both school and St. Mary’s Church sparks many fond memories!
    Blessings to all of you!

  19. The first time I met Glen, I was waiting for a tire repair at Glen’s. As he walked past me, he noticed I was reading and asked what the book was. I said I was only about a hundred pages into War and Peace. He enthusiastically told me how much he enjoyed that book and began a spirited conversation with me about the plot and characters. I knew at that moment, Glen would always be a source of fascinating conversation whenever our paths crossed. His deep love of books and learning will be what I most admire about him. I agree with the quote from Jorge Luis Borges, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

  20. I was looking for a phone number so I could contact Glen and Jean. Instead, I find this sad news. I met Glen in Hovland. He and Jean visited me in the antique shop where I was helping them divest of a few of their things. It was fun to hear the latest on what all the kids were doing. I have missed having them on “the shore”. He was a kind, smart, funny, soft spoken man. The work they did clearing and maintaining not just trail, but cleaning up the highway too, was inspiring. I knew he liked skiing, but only here, realize his contributions to the community. My condolences to Jean, Margie and the family. I am so sorry for your loss.

Comments are closed.