Elaine Johnson, 1918-2016

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Funeral services for Elaine C. Johnson, 98, of Albert Lea will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Dwight Netzer will officiate. Burial will be at Hartland Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at Bayview/Freeborn Funeral Home and one hour prior to the services at the church. Online condolences are welcome at www.bayviewfuneral.com.

Elaine Johnson

Elaine Johnson

Elaine Celeste Johnson was born Oct. 1, 1918, in Cottonwood County, to Juel Edwin Kopperud and Mabel Pauline (Olson) Kopperud. She attended rural school until the age of 11, when her mother died of tuberculosis and her father moved Elaine and her sister, Louise, to Hartland so their grandmother could help with their care. Elaine graduated from Freeborn High School in 1936.

On Valentine’s Day in 1939 Elaine was married to Walter Johnson at his family farm. Elaine and Walter moved from the farm to Hartland and then to Freeborn, where they remained until their move to Bancroft Creek Estates in 2009. Recent health problems necessitated a move to Good Samaritan Society in September. Elaine enjoyed life at Bancroft Creek and valued the care and especially, the caregivers of both places. Elaine had a number of jobs in grocery stores, cafes and the canning company. She even helped farmers pick up corn in the fall after a windstorm in the late 1940s.

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In Freeborn, she was the bookkeeper at the Huntting Elevator and found her niche as the secretary of the school board and the district for several years until she retired. The family of four children remember her as a hard worker, a reliable caregiver, a strict moral guide and most important, a mom. The couple’s first baby did not survive, but Wayne, Judy, Cheryl and Jill made up the family. Elaine’s interests were many. She traveled with Walter in their motor home to visit family, fish, build churches and sight-see. She loved to shop for fabric, but found little time to sew. She did, however, make quilts with sisters-in-law Carmen and June for several years. Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, card playing and reading were favorite pastimes. Watching sports was also an enjoyment: Twins, Vikings and Gophers — especially women’s basketball. It was the only time she turned on her television. There were difficulties. Judy and Cheryl had polio in 1948, with long stays at Sister Kenny Institute. Cheryl died in a car accident in 1969. Her grandson, John died in a car accident in 1997. Walter died in 2010 after a lingering heart issue. Through it all, her faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ never wavered. Even in her personal struggles with surgeries and fractures and the last illness there was no self-pity. She was a strong and loving role model to all who knew her.

She is survived by Wayne (Sarah) Johnson and their son, Eric (Deb) Johnson, and their son, Noah. Judy Hellie and daughters Siri (Mark) Kalthoff and their sons, Sean and Tae, and Jana (Wayde) Paulson and their daughters, Alexa and Sydney. Jill (Jerry) Morstad and their children, Heather (Jeff) Thuringer and their children, Riley, Cole, and Emelia; Timothy (Jackie) Morstad and their son, Grant. Son-in-law, Glen (Kathy) Gauss, and their daughters, Jeni and Erin. She is also survived by her sister, Louise (Donald) Johnson, and their children, Steven (Sherri) Johnson and Mary (Erik) Holleque and families; and sister-in- law Marvyl Kopperud and her family.

Elaine is preceded in death by Walter, infant son; daughter, Cheryl Gauss; grandson, John Hellie; son-in-law, Ted Hellie; her parents; her stepmother, Irene Kopperud; half brother, Gary Kopperud; and all of Walter’s siblings and their spouses.

A large extended family mourns her loss and celebrates her long life. God bless her memory.