Ethan Thoreau Johnson

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 was held in Minneapolis 7 PM, October 13, 2010 at the Cedar Cultural Center.

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.

Published in the Minneapolis StarTribune · 30 September, 2010 · View Online

Ethan Johnson with Trunpet