POLSON — Chester “Chet” Johnson, 95, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Polson. Chester’s journey through life began on the northern coastline of Siberia on the Arctic Ocean on July 7, 1922, at a fur trading post operated by his Swedish father, Carl Johnson and his Russian mother, Marie Zimina Johnson. Two books about the Arctic refer to Chester as the first documented Caucasian baby born north of the Arctic Circle. Arrival in Polson was in 1924 where the family raised foxes and farmed. Some of his life is documented in the book, A Cup of Tears.

Early education was at the rural Sunny Slope School west of Polson with later graduation from Polson High School in 1940. He then worked at Boeing Aircraft in Seattle before joining the Navy and serving in the South Pacific campaigns on an LST. After WWII he returned to Polson and worked at farming, ranching, and mining. He greatly enjoyed riding horses, dancing, and prospecting for gold.

Chester was preceded in death by one sister, Gloria Violette; Vietnam veteran nephew, John “Hawkeye” Stephenson, and nephews Damon Ziemin, Joey Violette and Tim Johnson.

Survivors include immediate family Lillian Stephenson (children: Janice Myers, Rick Stephenson, and Gary Stephenson); Helen McClellan (son: Ron McClellan); Gene & Inger Johnson (son: Marc Johnson); and Ed Violette (children: Dan Violette, Lynee McMillan, and Susan Violette). Chester had no children but many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends enjoyed his sense of humor and were awed and inspired with his recollections of WWII.

Military funeral services are pending. One of Chester’s last wishes was, “Buy a good lunch for the folks at the VFW. They deserve it.” Indeed. Bon Voyage, Chester.

Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at thelakefuneralhomeandcremation.com. Arrangements are under the care of The Lake Funeral Home and Crematory.

the life of: Chester 'Chet' Johnson
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