Donna Johnson, 80, formerly of Albert Lea

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 12, 2008

After a 50-year battle with rheumatoid arthritis, Donna Johnson, 80, passed on March 12, 2008, from complications of pneumonia. Donna was born in Montrose, S.D. and moved to Albert Lea in 1945, where she remained a faithful resident until December 2007.

She was fierce in her struggle with this monster that threatened her health and her dreams for herself and her family. She constantly pushed herself toward goals healthy people would fall short of. She was an accomplished seamstress, despite having hands that could barely hold anything, much less a needle or several layers of chiffon on a beautiful wedding gown. She refinished cabinets and woodwork, made slipcovers, and painted and wallpapered because it needed to be done. Mom&8217;s mantra was, &8220;If you can do it, you should do it.&8221;

Her pride kept her going long past physical ability. Perhaps she was afraid if she stopped she wouldn&8217;t be able to begin again; maybe it was just anger that kept her striving to keep control as best she could. She actively chided us if we tried to help too much, saying, &8220;I have to do it for myself.&8221; We were at once pained, frustrated and amazed at her attitude.

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Mom liked cherry sodas, crossword puzzles, people with a wry sense of humor, geraniums, summer (not winter!) and a dry martini taken during a thunderstorm on her front porch. She had an extraordinary intellect. She loved her loyal husband Warren; her children James, Lisa and Clark and their spouses; and thought the world of her darling grandchildren, Jeffrey, Jadwin, Clayton, Erik, Kate and Jessica. She cared deeply for the rest of her family &8212; brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.

Mom didn&8217;t much believe in the hereafter, but it is certain that she will live on with all of us who cried at her pain and marveled at her strength as her body gave way. She once said she could remember as a child in Iowa running down the dusty farm roads as fast as she could, until her lungs felt like they would burst. It is our hearts that are now bursting with love to know that you are running free at last, dear Mother.

Arrangements are with Thurston-Lindberg Funeral Home, 2005 Branch Ave., Anoka, MN 55303, phone (763) 421-0220.