Sunday, October 31, 2010

Memorial and Obituary: William N. M. JOHNSON (1900-1994)

Memorial & Obituary (14 Feb 1994). William N. M. JOHNSON. Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

for the life of William N. M. Johnson

William N. M. Johnson, the son of Gustave Johnson and his wife Henrietta Sander Johnson, was born on the family farm in Glenwood Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa, on April 28, 1900. He was baptized at Glenwood Lutheran Church, and as a teen-ager he confirmed his Christian faith in that same church.

Bill attended the country school in Glenwood Township and he was a 1918 graduate of Valders Business College in Decorah.

Immediately upon graduation he started working for the Winneshiek County Bank. Bill was employed by the bank for fourteen years and he became the bank’s Cashier. In 1932 together with Ray Algyer, he founded the A & J Agency. It was the beginning of a long relationship with the company of which he became President. He sold his last remaining interest in the Agency on January 1st of this year.

Bill had an affinity for long relationships. On September 19, 1931, he was united in marriage with Mabel C. McCauley at the St. Benedict’s rectory. Mabel died last December after they had celebrated their 62nd anniversary.

Besides his membership at First Lutheran Church, Bill was active in his community. He served on the Board of Smith Memorial Hospital for many years and was their treasurer. He was a supporter of the Aase Haugen Home and he helped with fund drives for Luther College. He became the President of the Decorah Savings and Loan Association, and was elected a director of the Iowa Savings and Loan League in 1966.

Bill and Mabel enjoyed their home at 704 W. Water Street, and they enjoyed the winters they were able to spend in Florida, until the weaknesses of age made those long trips impossible. Bill died at the Winneshiek County Memorial Hospital on February 11, 1994, at the age of 93 years, 9 months, and 13 days. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mabel; by his parents; and by all eight of his sisters and brothers.

He is survived by his many nieces and nephews.

God bless his memory among us.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gravestone: William N. and Mabel (McCauley) JOHNSON

Gravestone. William N. (1900-1994) and Mabel C. (McCauley) JOHNSON (1898-1993). Phelps Cemetery: Decorah, Winneshiek, IA. Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Arthur S. and Vivian (Ask) JOHNSON

Arthur S. and Vivian (Ask) JOHNSON (Prob. c. 1929). Images courtesy of Verla Williams. Digitally retouched by Mark D. Williams

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Arthur S. and Florence (Sersland) JOHNSON

Wedding Portrait. Arthur S. and Florence (Sersland) JOHNSON (14 Feb 1942). Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gravestone: Arthur S. and Florence A. (Sersland) JOHNSON

Gravestone. Arthur S. (1903-1961) and Florence A. (Sersland) JOHNSON (1917-2003). Decorah Lutheran Cemetery: Decorah, Winneshiek, IA. Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Remembering the Johnsons

The Johnson Farm (1999). Image courtesy of Helen (JOHNSON) Miller.

Remembering the Johnsons
By Helen Johnson Miller

Remembering: a time less hectic--no air conditioning, walking everywhere, a car used only for church or a Sunday drive, drying dishes by hand, a seamstress who sewed for a living . . . making over from the old with cotton and wool, before polyester and nylon. Shirts to be starched and ironed, big gardens, canning fruits and vegetables . . . when fertilizer meant manure. A new Easter hat every year, no TV . . . soap operas on the radio, lots of relatives living close by, Ladies Aid on Thursday afternoons, egg-a-dosis for Easter and klubb in the winter: oh so good! A cook stove heated by wood in winter and gas in summer, spring cleaning: coal heat made everything so dirty. May Basket Day with baskets made from left over flowered wallpaper. Mama’s May 1st birthday with all lady relatives and neighbors in the afternoon and men for supper. Calling in grocery, bakery, and meat market orders, milk in returnable bottles, all delivered daily and billed once a month.

Remembering: A time when a lady never left home without a pretty cloth handkerchief in her purse, Myrtle and I singing in the Messiah at a very young age at Luther at Christmas time. Luther . . . a small men’s college of about 400 that seemed like an extension of high school as we supported sports and musical events: Wally played the violin in the orchestra. Remembering: swimming below the dam--very dangerous: Wally fell in and was going under when he was saved by Carlton Fagerly. We all appreciated the new city pool when it was finished.

Remembering a time when we didn’t worry about crime. A friend and I at age 14 wanted to go to the Chicago World’s Fair in the 30’s. She had a cousin there, so . . . with $20 sewn in a pocket made in our bras we traveled by train. After a long wait at Central Station, we were finally met by relatives. They lived miles out in a suburb and we were told her aunt had a bad heart so we'd be on our own for the entire week. She packed sack lunches for us and wrote down our street car changes. With no fears we traveled all over Chicago: the zoo, downtown, and of course, to the Fair by Lake Michigan. No one checked i.d.‘s so we saw all the shows--“Streets of Paris” with naked gilded ladies was especially memorable!!

Entertainment was easy and movies were inexpensive: 10 cents for matinees and a quarter for evening movies. Ice cream parlors up town for treats, the county fair with its shows, horse races, and cotton candy. In the winter sledding on Day Street from the top of Pleasant Hill and skiing on the Pearson hill--the parade on Decoration Day--fourth of July picnics and fireworks. Mama never cared how many kids came, there was always plenty of homemade bread and cold meat on hand.

1929 and 1930 were tough times but our family had plenty of food, always, and our relatives on farms had their own chickens, meat, and milk.

Christmas Memories--much decorating and baking: lefsa, Christmas bread, krum-kaka, fattimand, cookies, fruit cake, meatballs, etc. Always had to have lots on hand as all the relatives visited at the others' homes, we had such fun visiting them all. When I was small, we sat on the floor while papa lit the candles on the tree. Connie Rosenthal had a sleigh, "cutter," and took us for rides. We looked forward to visits to Hexoms: aunt Emma often served more than one table setting and children sat on stairs holding their plates, often creamed chicken. With no indoor plumbing there always was a catalog to look at in the outhouse. There were no electric lights until the late 30’s so oil lamps were used. Papa also loved going to the Hexom farm in the summer to watch the threshing.

Summer Memories--the Johnson farm where George, Charles, Emma, Lillie, Anna, Esther, Bill, and Arthur grew up; some of the family stayed after grandma and grandpa moved to town: Arthur and first wife Vivian, Stanley Ask, Esther, and LuVerne. Gordon as a teenager thought he’d like to work on the farm to earn a little money. This was short lived as he fell down the hay shoot and broke his leg. I remember playing with LuVerne in colored sand on the hill. The Johnson farm stayed several years in the family as Arthur and Florence bought it later. It was recently sold and the new owners are Johnson’s too, but not relatives.

Lillie and Walter Williams had a pretty acreage in the valley in Glenwood. I enjoyed playing in the little stream bordering their lawn. Lillie ran the telephone switchboard--she is remembered for all the lovely flowers that she grew from seed saved from year to year. When Papa got lonely for the country, we'd drive out and have afternoon coffee!

Connie and Anna had that lovely big home down on the flat (as we called the area). She was such a good cook and we went fairly often for dinner. Art and Bill are fondly remembered by us all. When Arthur lived in town he would often pop in and have coffee. Uncle Bill played a lot of golf in earlier years, but enjoyed more time with family in later years and we saw Mabel and him more often. I looked forward to the 5 pound box of chocolates he brought every Christmas.

George was in a fatal saw mill accident which occurred after his graduation from Iowa State when he had been married only a few months . . . a sad time. I must not forget the talented musicians in the Johnson family: Grandpa Gustave, my father Charles, and cousin Frederick sang in choruses, both Luren and Gauken (in Glenwood). Walter played violin in the school orchestra and Lillie played the piano. We rolled up the rug at Hexoms and Walter and his brother played their fiddles as Lillie played on the piano. What fun! While it's easy for my generation to talk of the immorality of today, there always has been a time that babies came in 7 months. But couples NEVER lived together unmarried!

I know Gustave and Henrietta Johnson would be surprised to know their family of eight children has grown to over 90 . . . and what a fine bunch it is!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Johnson Family Reunion (1999)

Johnson family reunion (Decorah, IA: 1999). Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

Johnson family reunion identification key.

1. Jonathon Kramer > Mary (Miller) Kramer > Helen (Johnson) Miller > Charles
2. Lee Miller > Helen (Johnson) Miller > Charles
3. Steven Johnson > Walter Johnson > Charles
4. Bruce Johnson > Walter Johnson > Charles
5. Steven Johnson, Jr. > Steven Johnson > Walter Johnson > Charles
6. Michael Dougherty
7. Gregory Schmidt
8. Leif Schmidt
9. Frank Grundmeier
10. Steve Paullus
11. Benjamin Miller
12. Anne Paullus
13. Chris Johnson
14. Mark Johnson
15. Judy Johnson (Bruce)
16. Alyson Johnson
17. Nick Svendsen
18. Phil Johnson
19. Brenda Svendsen (Eric)
20. Eric Svendsen
21. Steven Svendsen
22. Eric Basler
23. Brian Basler
24. Cathy Basler
25. Mary Kramer
26. Marsha Johnson (Steve)
27. Andrea Johnson
28. Harriet Dougherty
29. Jane Grundmeier
30. Julie Johnson (Phil)
31. Shelby Svendsen (Steve)
32. Dorothy Rosenthal
33. Ellyn Seifried
34. Hayley Basler
35. Esther (Hexom) Hill
36. Becky Miller (Ed)
37. Helen (Hexom) Basler
38. Wally Johnson
39. Karen Schmidt
40. LuVerne Blanc
41. Vincent Williams > Lillie (Johnson) Williams
42. Mary Lou Johnson (Leslie)
43. Walter Seifried
44. Leslie Johnson
45. Ed Miller
46. Ed Basler
47. Cathi Basler
48. Florence Johnson
49. Kay Rosenthal
50. Yale Kramer
51. Jean (Johnson) Vitale
52. Kirsten Schmidt
53. David Parker
54. Mark Svendsen
55. Helen (Johnson) Miller
56. Daryl Wilmeth
57. Gwen Wilmeth
58. Amber Wilmeth
59. Candice Wilmeth
60. Ben Svendsen
61. Adam Svendsen
62. Cameron Wilmeth
63. LaChelle Wilmeth
64. Christopher Svendsen
65. Verla Williams (Vincent)
66. BrandiAnne Daub
67. Jené (Williams) Daub > Vincent Williams > Lillie (Johnson) Williams