Grand Forks Native, Twin Cities Chef and Author John Michael Lerma Passes Away

I’m sad to report that John Michael Lerma, a familiar face in both Grand Forks and the Twin Cities has passed away after a long illness.

According to a Facebook post by his partner, John Michael was taken off of life support and died this afternoon “in no pain.”

“He was the center of my life for 16 wonderful years and he will be greatly missed. I will always love you my dear sweet JM. It was his wishes to not have a funeral but a gathering of those who loved him. As soon as I can arrange a place and time I will post so all those who are interested can attend,” the post read.

John Michael was a guest on WDAZ News at 5 with Terry Dullum and a regular addition to the Twin Cities Live program on KSTP. He wrote the cookbook “Garden County” and was known for his vidalia onion pie.

While I never met John Michael in person, I corresponded with him via social media and felt like I knew him.

I’m sure many people will miss John Michael and his amazing warmth and humor.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

9 thoughts on “Grand Forks Native, Twin Cities Chef and Author John Michael Lerma Passes Away

  1. John was a very upbeat , personable guy with a real personality about him of which you wanted to be near him. I still remember meeting him for the first time, and being lucky enough over the years to compete against him in the pie competitions of which he just loved to attend and had to miss the last few due to health. He was such a special soul, I will miss you John Michael Lerma and so will many

  2. John Michael could make anyone smile. I knew him for over 20 years and was never unhappy when I was with him. I’m so glad that I could call him my friend. It’s sad knowing that I will never see that smiling face again.

  3. I met John Michael when I first moved to Grand Forks for college in 1996. He was part of a group of people I got to know as I was adjusting to my new life and surroundings, before everyone got scattered by the flood. He was so funny, and he was so welcoming to me as I was first coming out and becoming comfortable with who I was. He was a wonderful person with such a compassionate spirit…and a sharp wit! Such a light in the world…

  4. Shocked and saddened to learn of John Michael’s death. He was funny and fun. Always looked forward to “working” with him. He was a good soul. The world won’t seem quite the same without him in it.

  5. John Michael was a great man. He is a distant cousin and we grew up in the same neighborhood, but I just got to know him when he hosted my wife’s 40th birthday party a year ago. She just made one of his vidalia onion pies recently. What sad news. JM will be sorely missed. RIP! Bob T.

  6. On my never ending search for pie-lore, I once stumbled upon a picture of what seemed, to me, to be the most beautiful pie in the world. I searched for the maker of this wonder and it was, of course, Michael Lerma. I looked him up on Facebook, wrote him a “fan” post, and he friended me. My deepest sympathies go out to those who knew this kindhearted artist best.

  7. My husband and I took a cooking class from John Michael in Stillwater. We had so much fun we decided to take the cooking class in Tuscany with Chad and few other people. I have to say it was one of our most memorable trips! We were so shocked to hear of his passing. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to you Chad.

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