Edith May Johnson


Edith May (Farmer) Johnson, 91, passed away on May 4, 2011, surrounded by family members at the Silvercrest at Deer Creek in Overland Park, KS.  A memorial service will be held at Silvercrest, 13060 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, May 9, 2011.

Edith May Farmer was born on January 7, 1920, in Fairfield, IA, to Samuel and Mertie (Sears) Farmer.  She grew up on the family farm and attended elementary school in a one room schoolhouse.  In 1937 she graduated from Fairfield High School and attended Parsons College for two years.  She then went to Iowa State College in Ames, IA, and graduated in 1942.  Following college she moved to Osage, IA, to become the Mitchell County Extension Home Economist.

On November 19, 1944, May married James Claire Johnson at the Congregational Church in Osage.  They farmed in Union Township for 28 years.  They were both members of the Union Presbyterian Church and subsequently the United Methodist Churches in St. Ansgar and Osage where she was UMW President. Claire’s Norwegian heritage was celebrated through their involvement in Sons of Norway and she served as president of the local chapter. Claire preceded her in death in October 2001.

May was asked to return to the position of Iowa State University Extension Home Economist and later became the Extension 4-H and Youth Agent for Mitchell and Floyd Counties retiring in 1980.  Her professional recognitions include Honorary 4-H Club Member 20 years service, Citation for Distinguished Service to 4-H on the behalf of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents 1975, The R. K. Bliss Extension Citation in recognition of outstanding educational leadership in Extension 4-H and Youth Programs 1976, and induction into the Centennial Class Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame for Outstanding Service and Dedication to 4-H in 2002.

May Johnson was a talented seamstress, needle worker, and cook.  She made her own and her young children’s clothing plus curtains and draperies and was known for her yeast breads and pies.  In retirement she completed several hand stitched quilts and made counted cross stitch and hardanger items which are proudly displayed in her children’s homes.  Gardening and playing golf were outdoor activities she enjoyed.  She was an avid reader and enjoyed her membership in the Shakespearean Study Club.

Survivors include four children Pamela (Herbert) Haack of Rochester, MN; Mary Lynn Johnson (Denise Robertson) of Spokane, WA; Lee (Janelle) Johnson of Overland Park, KS; Lu Johnson of Apple Valley, MN.; and five grandchildren Natalie Haack of San Diego, CA; Leah (John) Deane of Goodyear, AZ; Renee Johnson of Alpharetta, GA; Adam Johnson of New Orleans, LA; and Todd Johnson of La Jolla, CA; and two step great grandchildren Samantha and Andrew Deane. Her sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Harry Fay, of Glen Ellyn, IL; sister-in-law, Helen Johnson of Osage, IA; and four nieces and one nephew also survive.

Memorial contributions to the Mitchell County 4-H Foundation or the First United Methodist Church of Osage, IA may be sent to 1808 Summit Drive NE, Rochester, MN 55906 in care of Pamela Haack.

1 Comment

  1. Lee Johnson and Family on May 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    All of us at Esterly, Schneider are thinking of you and your family at this sad time. I wish I had of known your Mother. What a beautiful lady. Mary

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