Ethan Thoreau Johnson
{ "" }
Share Ethan's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Johnson, Ethan Thoreau 9-22-1972 to 9-21-2010 Ethan Thoreau Johnson died September 21, 2010 of head injuries sustained in a hit and run automobile collision near his south Minneapolis home. He was 37. Ethan was a research scientist at the University of Minnesota, where he studied the biochemistry of photosynthesis. He played trumpet in a local band, the Brass Messengers, and was an active member of the Minneapolis puppet community. A multi-sport athlete and outdoor adventurer, Ethan competed in cross-country ski races, had run marathons and, in high school, won the Idaho state soccer championship. In summer, Ethan and his wife made long, unsupported canoe trips through the Boundary Waters Wilderness. He commuted by bicycle year-round. Ethan had wit, intelligence and curiosity. He was a natural experimenter, an entertaining storyteller and a patient teacher. He was kind and gentle but also mischievous. He made time to be with his family and friends, and he had fun. He is deeply missed. Ethan was born in Albuquerque, N.M., and grew up in Montana and Idaho. He earned a BA in physics from Cornell University and a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Washington. He and his wife moved to Minneapolis in early 2005. Ethan is survived by Xena Huff of Minneapolis; his father and stepmother, Stephen and Susan Johnson of Missoula, Mont.; his mother and stepfather, Beverly and James Smith of Woodway, Texas.; his sister, Erica Johnson of Spokane, Wash.; stepbrothers Mark Smith and Eric Smith; stepsister Kathryn Aber; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held in Minneapolis 7 PM, October 13, 2010 at the Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Avenue South. More information is posted at Donations in Ethan's memory may be made to the University of Minnesota Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics; the Brass Messengers; or BareBones Productions.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Star Tribune on Sep. 30, 2010.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
6 entries
October 26, 2010
Xena -

I just saw pictures of Ethan's memorial posted on Facebook and I was shocked with disbelief. I did a google search to confirm and ... here I am writing you this note on a public space. If I had your private information I would write privately. My deepest, heart full of sympathy goes out to you and to your family and Ethan's. I admired your relationship and I hope that the love you have together continues to burn in you and to fuel your life forever.
Maggie Jarry
October 3, 2010
I feel your pain deeply during this tragedy. My husband Robert Kuntze was killed by a drunk driver here in Edina on Sept. 1. The driver also fled the scene of the accident. I am grieving for my loss, but also for yours. I have been amazed at how many people a tragedy like this impacts. Ethan sounds like a wonderful man, as was my husband. My sincere prayers are with you and your family in the weeks ahead. Take comfort in his legacy as a "kind and gentle" man.
June Kuntze
Edina, MN
October 1, 2010
Ethan what will we do without you? We miss you and that great spirit of yours.
Sarah Murphy
October 1, 2010

Our hearts go out to you and your family for your loss. Ray and I just met you in dealing with Loren's death a year ago. We felt so comfortable with both of you.

Ray and Liz White
October 1, 2010
I miss you Ethan.
Tony Varghese
September 30, 2010
Xena and family,
May your hearts be filled with all the wonderful memories of Ethan. Our dental office really enjoyed Ethan as a patient.
Drs. Alan Russell and James Stockton and staff at Russell Dental
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences