It is with sad hearts that the Stephenson County Farm Bureau board of directors and staff say “see you later” to Bruce Johnson. Bruce died Wednesday. As many of you know, Bruce was diagnosed with a stage 4 glioblastoma brain tumor in April of this year. Sixty short years doesn’t seem long enough. Everyone who knew Bruce knows he moved on to his eternal home.

The other thing we all know is how dedicated Bruce was to serving the entire Stephenson County area. Please keep Andrea and the entire family in your thoughts and prayers. Bruce and Andrea were each other’s best friend. They both enjoyed participating in 5K races, going to movies and playing board games. Bruce has mentioned that Andrea is a champ at Scrabble.

Bruce Johnson has been the manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau in Freeport since January 2004, in a career spanning over 36 years in the FB family of companies. Bruce served on the boards of the State Bank of Freeport, Stephenson County Beef Association, United Way of Northwest Illinois, CAP Foundation, Freeport Rotary, Stephenson County Ag Breakfast, and the Stephenson County Fair Association. He was also involved with the Highland Community College Ag Advisory Committee, Chicago High School for Ag Sciences advisory board, Chamber of Commerce, FFA Alumni, AgrAbility Unlimited and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. Bruce and his wife of 40 years, Andrea, live in Freeport and have two sons, David (Andrea) and Mike (Cassie) and five grandchildren.

Above are the statistics on Bruce and they give you a small clue to how he lived his life, serving others. In the Stephenson County Farm Bureau column last week, I mentioned that we won a Most Outstanding Project award at the Illinois Farm Bureau IAA annual meeting for Roots and Shoots. This program is part of the SCFB Foundation and was kicked off at our Centennial Celebration. What was not mentioned, except to a few people, is that this program is Bruce’s legacy giving venue. Around $8,000 was raised at our celebration, and Stephenson Service and Growmark have given $2,500 each to the program.

It is true to Bruce’s nature to continue to take care of others and the interest of agriculture even after he is gone. Bruce described the program as “establishing a legacy of sustainability for generations to come in the agricultural sector. Your financial support will enable a variety of opportunities for local young people while helping to keep Stephenson County’s number one industry strong and vibrant. Because of your generosity, local youth will be able to engage in career exploration through job shadowing, internships and more!” Not only is this where Bruce would like to see his memorial funds designated, but he hoped that others would choose to send memorials, bequests and pledges to fund this program. Requests to utilize the funds will be reviewed by the SCFB Foundation board of directors.

There is a song by The Afters called “Well Done.” They describe Bruce’s life the best:

“Well done, well done

My good and faithful one

Welcome to the place where you belong

Well done, well done

My beloved child

You have run the race and now you're home

Welcome to the place where you belong

Well done, well done.”

Thank you for all you did in our earthly home! Well done!