On this day in 2000, John Lohman retired from his 48 year long career at the Fargo Forum. Mr. Lohman was born in 1935 in Bismarck, but grew up in Fargo and graduated from NDSU with a degree in engineering. In 1947 he became a newspaper carrier for the Fargo Forum. In 1948, while working on his carrier job, he reported election returns for the Dewey-Truman presidential race to the newsroom. His service for the Fargo Forum would prove to be invaluable.
Mr. Lohman continued to work for the Fargo Forum while in college, and upon graduating decided he would not use his engineering degree, but would stay with the newspaper. He worked his way up from night copy boy to eventually associate editor and outdoors editor.
Mr. Lohman’s biggest claim to fame was as one of the Fargo Forum staff members to receive the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1957 Fargo Tornado. In the late evening on June 20, 1957, an F5 tornado struck Fargo, killing twelve people, destroying over 300 hundred homes, displacing over 2,000 people, and caused $20 million in damage. Within minutes Mr. Lohman and the nineteen other Fargo Forum staff members arrived at the office. Five hours and 29 minutes after the tornado struck, a special edition of The Fargo Forum came hot off of the presses. Mr. Lohman was the youngest member of the Pulitzer Prize winning team. The Pulitzer Prize committee commended the Fargo Forum for “it’s swift, vivid and detailed news and picture coverage of a tornado…under considerable difficulty and overcoming many handicaps, a small but skilled staff put out a complete tornado edition within five hours after the disaster.”
In 1966 Mr. Lohman began covering the outdoors scene. He had a weekly column in every Sunday Fargo Forum from 1966 to 2000. He never missed a week, even while on vacation. In 1997 he guided the coverage of the devastating flood of the Red River. Mr. Lohman was the last surviving member of the Fargo Forum’s Pulitzer Prize winning team. He died in 2018 at the age of 82, survived by his wife of 55 years and four children.
Dakota Datebook by Trista Raezer-Stursa
Associated Press, “Associate Editor at Forum Retiring,” Bismarck Tribune. Bismarck, ND. June 30, 2000, pg. 4C.
Author Unknown, “John Lohman,” Boulger Funeral Home. http://boulgerfuneralhome.com/obituaries/21223/
Springer, Patrick, “John Lohman, Believed Last Surviving Member of Forum’s 1957 Pulitzer-winning Tornado Coverage, Dies at 82,” Fargo Forum. Fargo, ND, May 21, 2018.