Obituary Details

Edna "Ronnie" Veronica Johnson

(02/28/1920 - 09/14/1976)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 09/23/1976

Service for Edna Johnson

Service for Edna V. Johnson was held at Peet Mortuary Chapel Friday with the Rev. Roger Bond, St. George's Episcopal Church presiding. Mrs. Johnson died at St. Luke's Hospital in Denver Sept. 14 following surgery.

Mrs. Minerva Watson was organist and Tim Johnson sang "The Lord's Prayer," "The 23rd Psalm" and "Now the Day is Over."

Pallbearers were Jack Pfister, Arlo Bowen, Herb Klindt, Otto Krekeler, Harold Allbright and Robert Sturtevant. Interment was in the Lusk Cemetery.

Memorials are to the Heart Fund.

"Ronnie" as she was known by many, was born Edna Veronica Struck on Feb. 28, 1920, in Pascagoula, Miss., the daughter of Vivian and Arthur Struck.

When she was a young child the family moved to Colorado where she attended Colorado schools. She came to Lusk in 1944 as the bride of Harleigh Johnson who she had married in Rapid City, S.D., April 25.

Harleigh died May 22, 1953. It was after his death that she conducted the family oil business, attended Parks Business School in Denver and launched her professional career eventually working out of Casper as a PBX instructor for Mountain Bell Telephone.

Choosing to live life to the fullest, heart surgery ten years ago was only a temporary setback. Following the surgery and a convalescent period at the home of her son George and wife Elane in Tacoma, Washington she returned to Lusk and once again became actively involved in the community and went to work at Willard's Drug Store where she had been employed the past nine years. She was a past president of B.P.O. Does, member of the Legion Auxiliary, and Episcopal Church.

Her door was always open to friends and the friends of her sons-friendships that have been long-lasting. New friends also became an important part of life

Survivors include George and Elane and their children Fleeta and Steven; Yoy and LeAnn and their daughter Sacha; and her mother Mrs. Vivian Ellison of Pascagoula, Miss.

The Lusk Herald
September 30, 1976
Published in the "Patter Pat" column by Pat Brewster

Via his Ridin' the Range column in the Denver Post Red Fenwick paid Tribute Sunday to our mutual friend Edna Johnson, nicknamed Ronnie or Roni (spelling depending on her mood). It is a beautiful tribute - one that I wanted to share with all of you this week so I called Red on Tuesday and got his permission. Red simply called the article: "Roni Johnson, a Fighter to the End" by Red Fenwick:

Many who know nothing of the sweat and drudgery of it, think of a career in journalism as flamboyantly exciting, adventurous and, above all, affording opportunities to "Meet the most interesting people."

I'm frequently asked about my own experiences as a reporter - "What was your biggest story?" "What story did you enjoy writing most of all?"

But more often I'm asked, "didn't you get to meet the most interesting people?"

The answer is always "yes". But my listener is always disappointed when I add: "But most of them never got their name in a newspaper."

THIS WORLD IS populated by "little people," quiet, unobtrusive, plodding, hard-working, home-loving little people who live up to their obligations, discharge their responsibilities and meet personal challenges without fanfare or receiving any medals.

They live, they love, they laugh and they cry sometimes, too. Most of them rear families, help others in need, comfort the sick, counsel the young, assist the aged, work in the community and by and large live useful meaningful lives.

They suffer in solitude and die almost in anonymity. But among them you find the real heroes and heroines of life. One of them died in Denver last week.

She was Mrs. Edna (Roni) Johnson of Lusk, Wyo., a very dear friend of mine who courageously fought a years-long battle against heart disease and never once knuckled down to it.

RONI UNDERWENT open heart surgery - her second in recent years - at St. Luke's Hospital. She was confident the operation would be successful when I visited her the night before surgery.

"I'll be in intensive care for three days," she predicted, "then I'll be out there walking the halls. I'll be damned if I'll let this thing get me down.

It hadn't before, nor during the years after the first operation, and Roni Johnson wasn't about to surrender. She went to sleep that night smiling, confident and full of her usual fight.

Roni was born in Mississippi, but she married and moved to Wyoming long enough ago to have completely fallen in love with the wide open spaces of that state. A walking chamber of commerce, she sang the praises of the little town of Lusk. She was only a little bit taller than five feet, but she's fight anyone who maligned her state or town.

Roni's husband, Harleigh, died of a heart attack, but she later remarried and then divorced. She raised two sons, George, a chief warrant officer with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Army of Fort Rucker, Ala., and Yoy, a staff sergeant at Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.

BUT CARING FOR her late husband's business as an independent servicing Wyoming oil fields posed a strain on her. She too, developed heart trouble, had open heart surgery in Denver and couldn't wait to get home.

Her doctor told her to be active. She already was. She got a job with Willard's Drug Store in Lusk, walked, learned to swim, put on her own storm windows in the fall, painted the interior of her immaculately clean home as often as possible, took part in Elks Club activities as a member of the Elks Does and was as lively as the humming bird outside her window.

She had an unconquerable zest for life, loved to dance, entertain her many friends and pop up at parties in nearby cities. On her visits to Denver for periodic physical examinations, she drove her own car, enjoyed the shows and the night clubs. No prude, she liked an occasional nip and always a good laugh.

HER EXAM A FEW months ago disclosed some deterioration. Finally it reached the red-alert stage, and Roni entered the hospital last Saturday. She was operated on Monday and died Tuesday.

Last Friday was a beautiful, radiantly sunshiny day in Lusk. It was the kind of day Roni Johnson enjoyed most - a day which, during drag hours in the drugstore, she would stand on the sidewalk and chat and laugh with ranchers and cowboys or townsfolk and roughnecks from the oil fields.

I guess it was about as good a day as any. They spaded the clean smelling, friendly soil of Wyoming. And while late-leaving birds flitted and chirped in the trees, the land she loved so well held her in eternal embrace.

THANK YOU RED Fenwick, the hurt from losing my neighbor - a dear friend - is still there, but somehow your thought of her so warmly expressed ease the pain - Pat.

Images & Attachments


Photos courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

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