May 29, 2024

Wink (Winston Roger) Johnson

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Wink (Winston Roger) Johnson, 86, of Chokio, passed away on February 11, 2022 at West Wind Village in Morris.

A memorial gathering will be held Friday, February 24, 2023 from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Bainbridge Funeral Home in Herman, MN.

Wink was born August 11, 1936 in Hardy, IA, the sixth of seven children born to the late Dagna and Carl Johnson. In March of 1947, the family packed up their belongings and moved to Chokio. This wasn’t only a move for the family, but also their few head of dairy cows and Wink’s Shetland pony Sparkles – his love for horses started at a young age and remained throughout his entire life.

Wink had fond memories of helping out on the family farm and the special friendships he made early on with Earl Blackwelder and Ordell Ritter.  He would smirk and tell outlandish stories of the things these friends did during their teenage years.

Wink married Darlene Sundt in February 1962. To this union, two daughters were born, Kelly Jean and Jody Lynn. The couple made their home in Minneapolis, where Wink worked as a welder. He was very talented, he designed and created many different things during his career. Wink was always “tinkering” and building things, he loved making something out of nothing. In 1975, the family left Minneapolis and moved to Herman, MN, where Wink built and operated a welding shop. Wink was soon recognized and sought out for his welding talents and ingenuity.

In 1983, Wink married Mayva (Bartells) in Glenwood, MN. Once again, Wink ended up back in Minneapolis where he continued his love for welding.  An unfortunate accident to his hand caused him to retire from welding, so he and Mayva moved back to Herman.

Wink and Mayva were fortunate to eventually purchase their second home in Apache Junction, AZ. They enjoyed the many friendships they made at Carefree Manor and thoroughly enjoyed the lifestyle in the warmer climate. Wink couldn’t just sit still and enjoy retirement, so he started a small business where he bought and refurbished golf carts. It wasn’t long and he created a thriving business. He loved this work and became busier than he had imagined. Wink and Mayva always said their dream was to go to Arizona for 20 years, unfortunately at year 19 Mayva passed away. Wink fulfilled their goal and went back to Arizona that next year, but this time he decided it wasn’t the same without Mayva, so he sold their property and became a full time Minnesota resident.

In the spring of 2020, Wink decided his home in Herman was just too big and too much for him to manage alone, so he moved into a smaller home in Chokio where he was closer to family – and right back to his roots.  It wasn’t long after his move when he started designing and creating yet another shop in the garage where he could continue his “tinkering.” He was always the “go-to guy” when something needed repair, he thoroughly enjoyed helping out and had a very hard time telling anyone “no.” Wink loved being back in Chokio, he would often get on his golf cart and visit his lifelong friends Earl & Andrea Blackwelder and Ordell Ritter.

One of his last big projects that he was so proud of was the creation of a miniature 1956 Ford pickup that he built out of a golf cart. He thoroughly enjoyed cruising around Chokio in this black beauty, he loved the attention it gained and the conversations that resulted. Wink loved to visit, he loved his home in Chokio, and especially loved spending time with his family.

Wink is survived by his daughters, Kelly (Tom) Claassen of Chokio, Jody Morris of Minnetonka; step-sons, Kai Bartells of Fort Worth, TX and Trent Bartells of Detroit Lakes, MN;  grandchildren, Tiffany Thorstad, Kristi (Brian) Werner, Justin (Stacy) Koehntop, Samantha (Zach) Fellows, Devin (Megan) Morris, Josh Bartells, Annie (David) Hills, and Patrick Bartells; six great-grandchildren; two sisters, Mavis Vorland and Shirley Kasuske; and sister- and brother-in-law Merrill (Punk) and Judy Carlson.

Wink is preceded in death by his parents; his wife Mayva; his brother Bud Johnson; and sisters Phyllis Smith, Wanda Zamzow, and Loraine Awsumb.

Wink was a very proud and humble man. He will be greatly missed.

To sign the online guestbook or watch the video tribute, visit

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