Ernest ‘Gordon’ William Johnson
Ernest “Gordon” William Johnson, 95, was called home to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on Monday, April 17, 2023 in Charles City, Iowa. A celebration of his life will be at the Charles City Evangelical Free Church, 523 N. Main St. on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 11 a.m.
Gordon was born on March 18, 1928, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to Ernest and Elizabeth (Haslett) Johnson. He had an older brother, Robert, older sisters May and Ruth, and a younger sister, Grace. As a young man Gordon was an enthusiastic hockey player. His decision at age 14 to give his life to Christ for missionary service was the impetus of his entire life. He graduated from both high school (1946) and Bible School at Prairie Bible Institute (1949) in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. The years at Prairie were extremely significant to him. Gordon married the love of his life, Grace Frances Touring, in September, 1950. He continued his Biblical studies graduating from Winnipeg College of Theology (1951). He worked for Coca-Cola Canada (always having a cold Coca-Cola close by) and pastored a church in West Kildonan in Winnipeg.
In 1954, Gordon was ordained in the Evangelical Free Church of America. He and his small family traveled by train to the Rio Grande Valley to serve at the Rio Grande Bible Institute of Edinburg, Texas, where he lived until 2020, serving as Teacher, Academic Dean, President and President Emeritus of Rio Grande Bible Institute. Gordon also received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of TX- RG (1965), Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of TX, Austin (1970), and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Missiology from Trinity International Divinity School (1985). Gordon was a lifelong student and teacher of Spanish and Bible.
During his tenure at the Rio Grande Bible Institute, the radio ministry was begun. It continues to the present in an ever-growing way. Gordon was instrumental in mentoring alumni through e-mails and Alumni Congresses. Gordon was devoted to the spiritual growth of his students, demonstrating a lifelong interest in each one. He loved ministering in Spanish which was often his first language. As he aged, if he couldn’t remember a word or phrase, he would change to Spanish, causing a bit of consternation to those around him.
From northern Alberta to the tip of Argentina, Gordon loved to travel. Many summers included family trips to visit family in Canada, This often meant driving across Canada rather than the US in order to meet his many friends and supporters. Gordon passed his love of travel to each of his daughters. Additionally, he traveled extensively in Mexico, Central and South America, and Russia in a ministry of preaching and encouragement.
During his later years as he cared for his beloved Grace, Gordon completed twelve books, four in English and eight in Spanish. Gordon and his wife, Grace, have four daughters. Gordon officiated at each of their weddings and dedicated many of their children to the Lord. Family was a great joy as he organized several reunions to celebrate being together.
Living members of his family include daughters, Patricia (Keith) Jeske of Rockford, Illinois; Sharon Johnson of Chicago, Illinois; Carol (Thomas) Aubrey of Antioch, Illinois, and Colleen (Michael) Downey of Charles City, Iowa; beloved grandchildren, Meagan (Carl) Buch, Matthew Jeske, Shannon (Eddie) Englert, Heather (Tim) Albano, Colleen (Joel) Aurand, David (Mary) Aubrey, Michael (Rachel) Aubrey, Ryan (Emily) Aubrey, Elizabeth (Cody) Dailing, Justus (Amy) Downey, Austin Downey, Luke Downey, Chloe (Ethan) McNeese, and Victoria Downey (fiance’, Sam Hinman); twenty-one cherished great-grandchildren; seven nephews, and five nieces.
Gordon is preceded in death by his wife, Grace, brother, Robert, sisters, May, Ruth, and Grace, grandson, Jonathan, and great-grandson, Henrik.
The family would like to thank the caring staff at Riverside Senior Living and 9th Street Chautauqua for the excellent care Gordon received in the last months of his life.
The service will be live streamed on the Charles City Evangelical Free Church website at www.charlescityefreechurch.com. Memorials may be directed to the Rio Grande Bible Institute’s Student Scholarship Fund or Charles City Evangelical Free Church summer camp fund.
Hauser Weishaar Funeral Home, (641) 228-2323, 1205 South Main Street, Charles City, Iowa 50616 is in charge of local arrangements. Online condolences may be left on the Tribute Wall for the family at www.hauserfh.com.