Lavina Marie (Ratashack) Johnston (1924 - 2012)

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  • "What a wonderful, wonderful lady and friend to my family! ..."
    - Julie Mortensen Kochan
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Funeral services for Lavina M. Johnston, 87, were conducted by Pastor Dwaine Simonsen on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at the Audubon Church of Christ in Audubon. Interment was in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Audubon. Casket bearers were Jeremy Johnston, Jerryn Johnston, Mike Hemmingsen, Matthew Cushman, Tim Slobodnik, and Jacob Slobodnik. The Kessler Funeral Home in Audubon was in charge of the arrangements.
Lavina Marie Johnston, the daughter of Gustav and Mary Catherine Deidricksen Ratashack, was born Dec. 28, 1924, at her parent's home in Brighton Township near Marne, and died Jan. 17, 2012, at the Audubon County Memorial Hospital at the age of 87 years and 19 days.
Lavina was baptized later as an adult at the First Christian Church in Audubon. She attended rural school "Layton #7" southeast of Walnut, and then graduated from the Walnut High School with the Class of 1942. Lavina taught country schools near Council Bluffs, Avoca, and southeast of Wiota. She then was employed as a switchboard operator in Atlantic for Northwestern Bell for several years.
On May 3, 1950, she was united in marriage to LaVern G. Johnston at the Christian Church Parsonage in Carroll. Two sons Mervin and Steven were born to this union. They owned and operated a farm east of Audubon in Melville Township. Lavina helped LaVern farm and she raised chickens and sold eggs. She always had a large vegetable garden from which she canned the produce. But she especially enjoyed her flower garden. They moved into Audubon in 2005. LaVern died Oct. 11, 2005. Lavina later moved to the Friendship Home in Audubon in 2011.
Lavina was a member of the First Christian Church in Audubon where she taught Sunday School and Bible School. When the Christian Church closed she became a member of the Audubon Church of Christ in Audubon. She also had been a member of a Neighborhood Club in Melville Township.
Preceding her in death was her husband LaVern Johnston; her parents; her brother-in-law Dwight McKean; her sisters-in-law: Helen Moon and Mary Robinson.
Survivors include her sons: Mervin and wife Shari Johnston of Boone; Steven and wife Kathy Johnston of Audubon; her grandchildren: Amy Johnston of Colo; Michelle and husband Matthew Cushman of Ankeny; Jerryn Johnston of Portland, Ore.; Leah and husband Mike Hemmingsen of Grimes; Jeremy and wife Angela Johnston of Audubon; her great-grandchildren: Hayley Johnston, Ashton Graddick and Jacquelyn Graddick all of Colo; Kellen Hemmingsen and Cole Hemmingsen both of Grimes; her sister Dorothy McKean of Harlan; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from Jan. 27 to Feb. 3, 2012