Marian Marie Johnson of La Crosse, passed away peacefully at Clare Bridge Care Center on February 1, 2018 at the age of 94. Marian was born on January 1, 1924 at the family farm near Cashton, WI to the late John and Kathryn (Smeenk) Clements. She was the youngest of seven children and the last surviving member of her family. She was preceded in death by her husband Emil, siblings Rosina Sullivan, Clarence Clements, Lamont Clements, Dorothy Berg, John Clements and Sylvester Clements, who died as a child.
Marian graduated from Cashton High School where she was valedictorian and La Crosse Vocational College with a bookkeeping degree. On May 21, 1946, she married Emil Richard Johnson of Coon Valley, Wisconsin. Emil and Marian had three children and shared 49 years of loving marriage before Emil passed away in 1995. They lived in LaCrosse all their married lives and are now together again.
Marian was involved in many varied activities and adventures throughout her long life. She played alto saxophone for the high school band and with Frank J. Italiano’s early band and orchestra. With WWII underway, she moved to Minneapolis, MN with her older sister, Dorothy, and both worked at the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant in Arden Hills manufacturing small arms ammunition. When the plant closed in 1945, she returned to Cashton where she met Emil, recently returned from the war, on the recommendation of her brother, John Clements. After their marriage on May 21, 1946, Marian and Emil moved to LaCrosse where she worked as a bookkeeper for Modern Laundry. In the mid-fifties, she started a retail women’s and junior’s clothing business, Johnson’s Apparel, after working for her sister-in-law, Alice Johnson, who owned the adjacent Children’s Shop. Their store was very successful and known for its fine women’s and children’s clothing up to the time it was sold in the early eighties.
In retirement, Marian remained active as a volunteer for the Franciscan Healthcare Auxiliary, serving as the Treasurer and as a Board Member of that group for many years. Upon her retirement from the Auxiliary, she received an award for volunteering over 11,000 hours of time to the organization. She regularly participated in the organization’s annual Tiny Tim fund drive and occasionally in its lobbying activities with the state legislature. She was also an active member of the Lion’s Club. Marian was a Den Mother for both sons during their time in the Cub Scouts and was active in the Girl Scouts with daughter Mary. In her spare time, she enjoyed reading, attending her book club, playing solitaire and cribbage, crafting pottery, cross stitching, attending La Crosse Symphony Orchestra events, curling, and golfing at the La Crosse Country Club and Hillview Golf Club. She was Hillview Club Women’s Champion five times. She also enjoyed reminding her son, Steve, that she had achieved seven holes in one. Marian loved watching baseball and became a huge fan of the La Crosse Loggers, hardly ever missing a game.
Marian loved to travel and enjoyed sharing slides and stories of her trips with her family and friends. She visited most of the countries in Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as China and Australia. She was accompanied on several trips by her sister Rosina, her niece Dorothy and other friends from the community.
Marian was an animal lover and, once established in her own home, always had a dog around the house. Early on, it was a Cocker Spaniel, but later it was Boston Terriers, all named Tiger. Her last dog was a tiny long haired Chihuahua that captured her heart and provided constant companionship and love for many years.
Marian was passionate about her family and loved spending time with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Even though they were scattered near and far, she stayed in touch. She was proud of each and every one of them and loved to expound on their endeavors and accomplishments. She loved the holidays, was generous to a fault with her gifts and made amazing meals and hot and cold dishes that are still talked about today. She spent countless hours meticulously researching her family’s history going back many generations in an effort to chronicle her life and the lives of those she loved. We are forever grateful to her for providing us with this window on our past.
Marian is survived by her three children: Richard (Deanna) Johnson and their children Adam (Carrie Rees-Johnson) Johnson, Anne Johnson (Jayson Krebsbach), Rebecca Johnson (Christopher Stinton); Mary (William) Kish and their children Sara (John) Langrehr, Kimberly (Joseph) Towey, Jacqueline (Billy) Carr, Kerry (Bradley) Hottinger; Dr. Steven (Renee) Johnson and their children Gretchen (Ryan) Nelson and Rachael Johnson; great grandchildren Mattheis and Emmett Johnson, Ainsley, Cora, Emery and Piper Krebsbach, Frederick and Ellis Stinton, Trevor, Justin and Megan Langrehr, Emily Towey, Bodhi, Alayna and Greyson Carr, Morgan and Harper Hottinger. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff at Clare Bridge and Dr. David Onsrud for the exceptional care provided to Marian during the last years of her life.
A Funeral Mass will be held February 19, 2018 at 11:00 AM at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 130 Losey Blvd. South, LaCrosse, Wisconsin 54601, with the Monsignor Delbert Malin officiating. Visitation will be held prior to Mass beginning at 9:00 AM. Burial will take place at the LaCrosse Catholic Cemetery following the Mass.
Memorials may be sent to Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare Auxiliary 700 West Avenue South, LaCrosse, WI 54601, Norskedalen Nature and Heritage Center, PO Box 325 Coon Valley, WI 54623 or the Lion’s Club of LaCrosse, PO Box 1351 LaCrosse, WI 54602. The Blaschke-Schneider Funeral Home team, 1501 W. Ave. S. LaCrosse, WI 54601 is assisting the family with arrangements.
When I’m Gone
By Lyman Hancock
When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile
Just forget, if you can, that I ever frowned
And remember only the smile
Forget the unkind words I have spoken
Remember some good I have done
Forget that I ever had heartache
And remember that I’ve had loads of fun
Forget that I’ve stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way
Remember that I have fought some hard battles
And won, ere the close of the day
Then forget to grieve for my going
I would not have you sad for a day
But in summer just gather some flowers
And remember the place where I lay
And come in the shade of the evening
When the sun paints the sky in the west
Stand for a few moments beside me
And remember only the best