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BETTY JEAN (VLASKAMP) JOHNSON

Obituary
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BETTY JEAN (VLASKAMP) JOHNSON, 92, formerly of Muncie, Ind. and later of Hunter town, Ind. and Bellevue, Wash., died peacefully the evening of Friday, March 8, 2013, at Cascade Plaza Retirement Center, Redmond, Wash. Born in Muncie, Ind., she was the daughter of Arnold Michael Dewitt and Dora Naomi (Grim) Vlaskamp. She spent most of her life in Muncie, moving to Huntertown in 2002, and to Bellevue, Wash. in 2004. She was preceded in death by her husband, James Arthur Johnson, a World War II veteran who served with the Navy in the Atlantic. For 32 years the couple owned and operated the iconic Johnson's Donut Shop, Muncie. Betty graduated from Muncie Central High School in 1938 and Ball State Teachers College (now Ball State University) in 1942. She worked in the offices of Chevrolet-Muncie during World War II. For many years she was a devoted mother and homemaker with an amazing talent for her unusual hobby, which was "contesting." She entered and consistently won contests that required clever jingles, slogans, or names, resulting in many major and minor prizes, including basketballs for all the children in the neighborhood, as well as a refrigerator, car, and swimming pool over the years. When her children left for college, Betty began a second career, applying her creativity and writing talents to become an award-winning feature writer for the Muncie Evening Press (now the Star-Press). Her first piece (a nostalgic recollection of her childhood in Muncie) appeared on the front page of the paper, and she continued to write articles that were highly lauded throughout her career. She was especially proud of her First Place Women's Press Club of Indiana Award (1975) and a 1977 First Prize Journalism Award in the Women's Section Category "Quality Takes More Than a Magic Celery Wand". She also worked as an administrative assistant in the medical office of her aunt, Dr. Elaine Vlaskamp. As a young woman, Betty studied and taught dance at Marjorie Jean's School of Dance in Muncie, and her love for dance has been passed on to her two children, four grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. In recent years, she loved to entertain her friends and family with her many precise tap dance moves, as well as her "nimble fingers" piano rendition of "On The Ice At Sweet Briar." Betty was an active member of the Fairlawn Church of Christ in Muncie for many years and served as a World Bible School teacher for several decades. She was known as "Betty Butterfly" to her friends at home and throughout the world. She is survived by her son, Dr. Philip J. Johnson of Fort Wayne; and her daughter, Dr. M. Kathleen Shriver of Bellevue, Wash. She is also preceded in death by her parents, and sisters, Susan Ann Cook and Alice Marie Peters. The family will honor her life in a private service. Memorials may be directed to Fairlawn Church of Christ in Muncie; or South Winds Church of Christ, in Fort Wayne.
Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Mar. 31, 2013
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