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Bob Lind, Published March 10 2012

Lind: Humor has served Lisbon, ND, native well through the years

He and his dad used to hunt and fish together along the Sheyenne River at Lisbon, N.D., when the kid was 10.

He wound up having jobs that allowed him to tell people about the joys of the Upper Midwest’s great outdoors.

This is Curt Johnson, now of Lakeville, Minn., who grew up in Lisbon; a guy with a sense of humor who says he considers his sixth grade in Lisbon “four of his finest years in school.”

He’s Norwegian: “Coffee is my middle name,” he says.

He’s also a guy who was gunned down during one of the most famed bank robberies in Minnesota history. (But not really …)

Love those outdoors

Curt graduated from Lisbon High School in 1961, then attended Brown College, Minneapolis, studying broadcast communications and gaining a first class federal broadcast engineering license.

He was news unit manager for documentation for WTCN-TV, Minneapolis, from 1973-80, news director and morning drive-time news anchor for WDAY Radio, Fargo, in 1980-82, and news anchor/director for the Minnesota News Network from 1982-99.

He also wrote and hosted outdoor programs and worked on special outdoor projects for Explore Minnesota Tourism. He then was an outdoor media specialist for EMT and was involved in promoting the annual Minnesota governor’s fishing opener, the governor’s deer hunt and many other Minnesota outdoor activities.

Curt retired from EMT in 2011, but remains busy on a freelance basis as an emcee, radio voice-over person for commercials and has a host of other interests, leading him to say, in reference to retirement, “I am

considering a full-time job so I can rest.”

Book in the works

Curt and his wife, Jolaine, have two children; a son, Kevin, and a daughter, Traci, both of Lakeville.

Traci has been encouraging her dad to write down his experiences. “So I’m now writing a book,” Curt says. “It’s called ‘The Lilac Tree.’ My kids will have to read the book to see what that means.”

Those stories no doubt will include yarns of being one of seven kids in his family in Lisbon; of hunting and fishing with Minnesota’s governors; of working for EMT, which was a wonderful job, he says, “because I finally found someone to pay me to go fishing.”

And, probably, his book will tell of his bank robbery story.

Northfield shoot-out

Actually, it was a re-enactment of the James-Younger gang’s attempted holdup of a bank in Northfield, Minn., in 1876.

Curt was picked to portray someone shot down by gangster Cole Younger during the annual Defeat of Jesse James Days in 2009.

Curt emphasizes it was a re-enactment, even though, he says, “Some of my in-laws keep telling me that I certainly look old enough to have been there for the original attempted bank heist.

“Those in-laws have been removed from my Christmas list.”


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