Pastor Loren Odland reads a passage from the Bible during the funeral for Ronald "R.J." Johnson in the Rushmore Room at the Ramkota in Sioux Falls on Saturday. Johnson was killed during a failed escape attempt Tuesday while working as a security officer at the state penitentiary.
Pastor Loren Odland reads a passage from the Bible during the funeral for Ronald "R.J." Johnson in the Rushmore Room at the Ramkota in Sioux Falls on Saturday.
Loren Odland, associate pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, conducted the service.
sermon around the resurrection theme of the coming Easter.
Before that, though, he
read Weber's remarks, and Maj.
talked about Johnson himself, relying on observations made by his family.
With another granddaughter, Ayleah, "R.J. got the biggest kick out of her
scolding him to wear his
admonition that "the cops would get him" drew a rumbling chuckle from the rows of uniformed officers and others standing along the walls.
noted Johnson especially liked cradling his youngest grandchild, Treyton.
Rock on," Odland
said Johnson's sudden, brutal death leaves those who cared for him adrift in their grief.
"It clouds vision," he
"It keeps us awake at night.
It forces us to lean on someone else, but even as we lean, we are incredibly alone."
Referring to his
theme of resurrection, Odland
said the reality of Johnson's death, the fact he
will never be able to enjoy languid summer vacations at the lake with his
wife again "makes it hard to believe an empty grave will be the end result."
added "though we can no longer hold R.J. in our arms, reach out and shake his
hand or put an arm around his
shoulder, God does and has."