Ye Old Menogyn Guides
John Johnson

1) Staff Positions: Guide (1948), Camper (1946 and 1950)

2) Current Address: So. St. Paul, MN

4) Life's Journey: 

John was born on January 29, 1929 in Minneapolis, and just eight months later the Great Depression started. He has always maintained that there was no connection between the two events. In 1946 when John was a senior at Minneapolis Southwest High School, Phil Brain, who had just returned from three years as a Japanese POW and who was back at his Y work, invited John to join a small group that was going "north" that summer to re-activate a place called "Camp Menogyn". Johnson accepted, not knowing exactly where "north" was, much less the place Phil called "Menogyn."Two years later, in 1948, Phil called and invited John to be a guide. Phil said that he had tried hard to get some really good guides, but couldn't find enough, "so could you come."

Johnson was a member of the U of Minnesota football team at the time, so in order to be back on the U of M campus when fall practice started in late August, Phil kept John out on the trail every week all summer. And this freshman guide, who could not even boil water to start with, eventually became pretty good at it... boiling water, that is.

In 1950, Johnson was hurrying back from Europe where he had been riding a three speed bike alone all summer (a couple of prospective followers had backed out) when they learned Menogyn Guide John had lost half of one of his Menogyn groups in the vicinity of the Canadian border). The author thinks It was during that week in the wilderness that John asked a young lady from Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis, to whom he had been engaged for some eight months, to set the date for their marriage .Marion Myrland (now Johnson) agreed and they were married on November 18, 1950. With three children and five grandchildren, John says he comes off probation next year.

 After they both graduated from the U of M in June 1951, they hitch-hiked over a large part of Europe, including a short stay on a farm in Yugoslavia. Things were a little challenging (like carrying an "Old Town" canvas canoe up the Rose portage,) working the fields all day with a five foot scythe, and living in somewhat difficult post war conditions. But compared to the meals John cooked on the trail, and the difficulty he had in rigging a jungle hammock in the pine forests so it would not take in the nightly downpour, Yugoslav farm life was a snap.

After the U, and a couple of years in the Navy (ours) John was lucky enough to find a job managing a business Trade Association with headquarters in Minneapolis. When he started work it had members in just two countries, the US and Canada. When he retired 41 years later, it had members in 51 countries all over the world. Not so incidentally, John applied for that life long job at the suggestion of one of his fellow guides at Menogyn, a man named Tom Sanburg.

Along the way Marion and John have visited many countries (221 at last count) on a number of trips abroad, and after their kids were old enough, they took turns in taking each of them overseas several times. John has driven from London, England to Beijing , China, and from London to Cape town South Africa, with his then 19 year old son. "Camping out, cooking under the stars (even African stars) and the other skills more or less perfected the in the Boundary Waters sure came in handy." John has said many times.

John served 4 years as a member of the Minneapolis City Council, and eight years in the State Legislature. He has also served on the Boards of the US Chamber of Commerce, Western Mutual Insurance Company, First National Bank, Mt Olivet Lutheran Church, and as Chairman of the American Society of Association Execs. He has taught Business Management courses at nine Universities, and is the author of seven books.

5) Other Information:  See my Stories ("Click")