Elenor M. "Snookums" (Schaefer) Johnson

Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project
Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project



(March 1, 1914 - May 2, 2002)


The Lusk Herald
May, 2002


Elenor M. Johnson

A Christian wake service for Elenor Johnson was held Sunday evening at St. Leo's Catholic Church. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday May 6, at 10:30 a.m. at St Leo's Catholic Church in Lusk. Celebrating the mass was Rev. Pat Shea of Lusk, Rev. August Koeune of Casper, Rev. Bruce Clapham of Newcastle and Rev. Francis Crowley, C. M. of Torrington. Interment followed at the Lusk Cemetery.

Elenor was born on a ranch north of Harrison, Neb. on March 1, 1914, to Fred and Agnes Schaefer. She passed away on the morning of May 2, in Douglas, at the age of 88. She spent her early schooling years at Bodarc School, which was located near her family ranch. She fondly recalled riding her pony, Minnie to school and to the neighbors. According to Elenor, she and her friends rarely got into trouble. "There wasn't anything to get into" she said. "We were so dang busy, we didn't have time."

Her family attended church in Harrison every other week, always on a Saturday night so that they could get groceries (the store was closed on Sunday). Once in a while, there was a country dance. There was really no community hall near their ranch, so the dances were usually held in someone's house. Elenor fondly remembered her father playing the violin and mouth harp.

Elenor moved into Harrison to attend high school. She worked cleaning rooms in a boarding house so that she could stay in town. She was 18 when she graduated in 1932. After she graduated she went to work for the Jim Christian family, 40 miles from town. She cooked for them and helped clean house, along with taking care of their five children. She worked for them for two years before moving to Lusk. There Elenor worked at J. C. Penney store that was on the west side of Main Street. She and her roommate, Eileen Porter lived in the apartment above the old Merry Whirl Dance Hall on the north end of town. It was in Lusk that Elenor met Roy A. Johnson. They were married in Chadron, Neb. on September 27, 1940, in a civil ceremony. "We were too poor, so we didn't have anything special," she said.

The newlyweds moved to the JA6 ranch where they lived in a log house for five years. "We had three ranches, so we just moved to whichever one had work needing to be done", she said. "The guys (ranch hands) were all bachelors, so I went along to cook for the crew." Though they put in long days during the week on the ranch, Roy and Elenor liked to kick up their heels on Saturday nights and attend dances at the Merry Whirl Dance Hall. "It was a gathering place for the whole community," she said "But we always had to get up and work Sunday mornings."

Roy and Elenor happily welcomed a baby boy, Robert Roy, born to them on December 22, 1949, in Lusk. When Bob turned 6, they moved to town so that he could attend school. She like the social part of living in town, but, missed the ranch life. She occasionally went out to cook for the ranch hands.

Roy and Elenor enjoyed camping and fishing at Alcova and Pathfinder Reservoirs and were also regulars at the VFW Hall in Chadron for the Saturday night dances.

Her beloved Roy passed away in 1995. She is survived by her son Robert and wife Polly of Lusk; one granddaughter, Deeanne of Seattle, Wash.; one grandson, Keven of Laramie; one sister Dorothy and one brother, Donald of Harrison, Neb.; nephews, nieces, friends and cousins.

Although she is sadly missed by all who knew her, we know "Pappy" and "Snookums" are dancing away, having a good ole time.

A memorial has been established to St. Leo's Catholic Church or the Lusk EMT's.

Cicmanec-Pier Funeral Home was in charge of the funeral arrangements.




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