Edith Gladys Johnson, 95, died Oct. 4, 2008, in Brainerd following a brief illness.
She is survived by her daughter, Carol (Russell) Phelps; and son-in-law, Brian Phelps, from Brainerd; grandchildren, Nick and Joe Phelps in St. Paul, and Anna Phelps in Minneapolis; sister, Phyllis Krueger in Walker; and other friends and family members.
She was born to Roscoe and Hilda Croff on Aug. 10, 1913. The descendent of two Cass County pioneer families, her grandfather, Chris Swenson, was a successful boat builder and steamboat operator on Leech Lake. Her paternal grandfather, J.E. Croff, moved to Walker in 1896 as a fur buyer and fishing guide. Along with her sisters Eva, Billie Mayo and Phyllis, she attended public school in Walker, where she fondly recalled her participation on the high school basketball team.
Edith married Stanley A. Johnson in June 1942, in Chico, Calif. After the war, they moved to Cass Lake where her husband enjoyed an over 50-year career with the U.S. Forest Service. She quietly built her own legacy, working for 50 years completing handwritten ledgers as the Cass Lake city treasurer. She ironed her sheets, made an award-winning bread, canned peaches and taught her uncoordinated daughter how to somersault so she could pass physical education. She was passionate about reading, knitting and gardening.
Edith quietly built her own legacy, working for 50 years completing handwritten ledgers as the Cass Lake city treasurer. She ironed her sheets, made an award-winning bread, canned peaches and taught her uncoordinated daughter how to somersault so she could pass physical education. She was passionate about reading, knitting and gardening.
Edith was also dedicated to her husband's work documenting Cass County history, and served for a time as president of the Cass Lake Senior Center - an organization whose members she enjoyed greatly. She was also a loyal member of the Cass Lake Methodist Church until its closure in recent years.
Highly independent, she remained in Cass Lake after her husband's death in 1997, living on her own and spending many hours as a volunteer at the Cass Lake Library, where she helped visitors and counted grocery store receipts to earn several thousand dollars in much needed donations.
After a mild stroke, she moved to May Creek Lodge to reside in an assisted living environment. Her sister, Phyllis, joined her this year, allowing them time together again. Edith was truly grateful for the new friends and care providers she met at May Creek, where she very much felt at home. She experienced a massive stroke on Sept. 25, 2008, leading to a brief hospitalization at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd.
Edith will be remembered by many for her feisty spirit, sense of humor and absolute dedication to the lives of her grandchildren, who deeply appreciate what she taught them about the importance of family, hard work and lifelong learning. Even at age 95, she was a voracious reader, cheered on the Minnesota Twins on TV, amazed her physicians and caregivers with her good health, beat her grandkids at cribbage and refused to tell anyone how she voted in an election. She was loved and will be very missed.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11, at Hope Lutheran Church in Walker. Reviewal will be held from 9-10 a.m. at the church.
Memorials to the Cass Lake Library are preferred in lieu of flowers.
Arrangements by Nelson-Doran Funeral Home in Brainerd.
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