Norma J. Johnson, 92, Albert Lea

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2002

The memorial service for Norma J. Johnson will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 16, at the United Methodist Church in Albert Lea with the Rev. Pastor Greg Ciesluk officiating.

Norma died at Thorne Crest Retirement Center on Sunday, July 7, 2002, where she resided since October 1995.

Visitation will be one hour preceding the memorial service. Interment will be 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, at the Sunset Memorial Park, Minneapolis, with Sister Joan Tuberty, Pastoral Staff, St. Olaf Catholic Church, Minneapolis, conducting the graveside service. Bonnerup Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.

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Norma J. Johnson was born in Laurel, Neb., on March 15, 1910, to Nettie (Bessire) and Oscar A. Johnson. When she was 15, she moved with her parents to St. Paul where she graduated from Central High School. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, with a chemistry major from Hamline University.

Norma taught science and mathematics in the Balaton and Staples, Minn., high schools for 10 years. She completed studies to earn a Bachelor of Science degree with a library science major from the University of Minnesota.

In an era when women were discouraged from pursuing science careers, even in teaching, Norma had a successful professional career. She taught science and mathematics in the Balaton and Staples, Minn., high schools and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in library science from the University of Minnesota. Her first library position, as school librarian in Jackson, Minn., was followed by positions as chemistry librarian at Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind., and research librarian for General Mills, Minneapolis. In 1948 she founded the first technical library in the Research and Development Department of the Pillsbury Company in Minneapolis. She retired from there in 1975 as Manager of the Technical Information Center and was listed in “Who’s Who of American Women.”

Norma moved to Albert Lea in 1976 to make her home with her sister, Olive Johnson Nelson. She was a life member of the United Methodist Church and an active member in Albert Lea, having served as trustee on the Administrative Board, Mission Commission, Higher Education and Campus Ministries Committee. She was a member of United Methodist Women and Faith Circle. She was a 50-year member of the Special Libraries Association and a past president of the Minnesota chapter; a member of the National Audubon Society, including the Albert Lea Chapter, and the Naeve Hospital Auxiliary.

She was selected for Hamline University’s science alumni achievement gallery and maintained an avid interest in the education of young scientists. Through her estate she established the Norma Johnson Scholarship for Women in Science to benefit Hamline students.

Norma is survived by her sister-in-law, Joyce Johnson of Plymouth, Mich.; nieces: Susan Yahn and her husband Herman of Flushing, N.Y., Jeanne Nelson Roll and her family of Vancouver, Wash., and Dorothy Pierson and her husband Paul and their family of Albert Lea; nephews; Kent Johnson and his wife JoAnn and family of Northville, Mich., and Dick C. Nelson his wife Inez and family of State College, Pa.; and special friends: Bye and Joy Christian of Albert Lea.

Norma was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Austin Johnson; sister, Olive Nelson; and brother-in-law, Paul Nelson.

Memorials are preferred to Albert Lea United Methodist Church, Albert Lea Audubon Society, or Hamline University.

Blessed be her memory.