Jacob Johnson of Chicago, Illinois, formerly of Blencoe/Moorhead, Iowa, expert hammock-napper, Snapchat star and meticulous NPR storyteller, died Saturday, December 31, 2016 at the age of 30.
Jacob's visitation will take place on Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 11:00 A.M., at Faith Lutheran Church, 316 15th St., in Onawa, Iowa. The service will begin at 1:00 P.M at the church with Vicar Shari Schwedhelm and Pastor Carla Johnsen officiating, and will be followed by a celebration of Jacob's life at Onawa Country Club, 1825 235th St. Onawa, Iowa. Arrangements are under the direction of Rush Family Care Service, Onawa, Iowa.
Jacob was born Jan. 22, 1986, to Jamie Fister (nÃ©e Bliss) and Kevin Johnson. He married Anjali Pinto on August 9, 2015, in Chicago.
Surviving are his wife, Anjali Pinto of Chicago, IL; his parents, Jamie and John Fister of Rodney, IA and Kevin and Rhonda Johnson of Moorhead, IA; his brother, Tyler Johnson (Erin O'Gara) of St. Paul, MN.; stepsisters, Amber Peters (Warren) and Megan Peters (Jeff) all of Elkhorn, NE.; nephews, Connor and Corbin; grandparents, Leonard Hanson of Smithland, IA and Carroll and Jeanne Johnson of Moorhead, IA; parents-in-law, Arun and Mary Jo Pinto of Peoria, IL; grandparents-in-law, Robert and Elizabeth Lehnhausen; brother-in-law, Navin Pinto (Jenny) of Seattle, WA; sister-in-law, Kiran Pinto of Chicago, IL; two nieces, Elly Pinto and Frances Pinto of Seattle, WA; and numerous cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.
Jacob is preceded in death by grandparents Karen Hanson and John Bliss, Nellie and Cal Fister, and Doris and Bernard Hildreth; and grandparents-in-law, Charles and Denise Pinto.
Jacob graduated from West Monona High School in Onawa and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3D Design from the University of Iowa. He was a talented woodworker and worked as a furniture designer for Zakrose at Dock 6 Collective in Chicago.
"Jacob was so detail oriented, thoughtful and precise," said his wife, Anjali. "He loved working to make something physical."
In his spare time he took special requests from family and friends. He refurbished a musical rocking chair for his nephew Connor, made a desk with graceful tongue-and-groove joints for his cousin and crafted an elegant wooden box for Anjali's engagement ring. He recently completed a linen closet for the couple's apartment.
Besides his deftness with a band saw, Jacob had a reverence for fireside chats and a ready willingness to give you the actual shirt off his back â€“ undoubtedly, habits he learned from his upbringing in Western Iowa.
"I believe that the small moments of kindness are what make this world go 'round, and Jacob glittered with kindness," wrote a friend on Facebook. "Thoughtfulness wasn't an active choice for him; it was simply who he was."
Jacob spent a lot of time behind the camera. He and Anjali wiled away many a summer day posing for each other on the lakefront at Montrose Harbor or in front of Jacob's favorite backdrop â€“ he never could resist a brick wall. But as many photos as he took (mostly of Anjali or #soloparking), he was a natural in front of the camera, too. When Jacob was only three years old he commanded a crowd of family and friends as a tiny, chubby-cheeked, jean jacket-clad Michael Jackson. With fancy footwork and a stage presence beyond his years, the performance set the course for a lifelong love of hamming it up, both on and off camera.
Whether he was busting a move or giving a hug, Jacob set the bar high for everyone around him: Stay playful and curious. Make art, sing and dance, spend your money on adventures, learn random facts and don't get too caught up on life's little frustrations. There's enough joy in this world to go around if you know where to look.
The families of Jacob and Anjali kindly request that donations be made to two organizations that Jacob cared about: Embarc Chicago (https://embarcchicago.org) and the United Way of Chicago (https://uw-mc.org). The families also welcome support to advance research on aortic health and thoracic aneurysms, which took Jacob's life so suddenly. Donations can be made in his honor to the John Ritter Foundation (http://johnritterfoundation.org).
Condolences and memories may be left online for the family at www.rushfamilycareservice.com