Laura Ingersoll Johnson of Marine on St. Croix, Minn., and Big Sky died June 22, 2007. Born in St. Paul, Minn., in 1941, Laura is a direct descendent of two pioneering Montana families, the O'Briens and the O'Gradys of Marysville.
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Laura's great-grandfather, Gen. Robert Neil McLaren, lead the Minnesota Second Cavalry into Montana in 1864 in the U.S.'s conflict with the Dakota and Blackfeet Indian tribes.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Archibald Ingersoll and Helen Goodell Ingersoll, and her twin brother Bruce.
An avid athlete, Laura spent hours swimming in the St. Croix River, biking the countryside, paddling in the BWCA, hiking mountains in Montana, backcountry skiing in Yellowstone National Park, and downhill skiing the steepest terrain at Big Sky Resort.
Laura had a rare ability to see the beauty and grace in all of life. She was a trusted friend and steadfast confidant who would patiently listen to anyone who came to her. She inspired those around her to nurture their own authenticity.
Laura is survived by her husband of nearly 43 years, James Wm.; son, Todd and Alice Johnson of St. Paul, Minn.; daughter, Maclaren and Jamie Latta of Bozeman; and four grandchildren: Tessa, Maren, Yates and Seamus. She is also survived by her sister, Brenda Ingersoll of Deerfield, Wis.; and the family's foreign exchange student, Yvonne Fosser of Norway.
She was a graduate of Villa Maria Academy, attended Macalester College and graduated from the College of St. Catherine. Laura was an art teacher at Stillwater Junior High for 12 years, and continued her passion for art and architecture throughout her life. She spent seven years as the president of the Marine Restoration Society and served as a board member for YMCA Camp Widjiwagan and Minnesota Museum of Art, among others. Laura was co-chair of Marine's sesquicentennial celebration and was a docent at the Walker Art Center.
She restored, redesigned and plumbed an 1889 rowhouse for her family's residence in 1977. It was one of her many unique and challenging accomplishments.
In 1994, Laura and Jim began splitting their time between Marine and Big Sky, widening their wonderful and supportive circle of friends.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at Bradshaw Celebration of Life Center, 2800 Curve Crest Blvd. (northwest corner of Highway 36 and Co. 5), Stillwater, MN 55082. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, June 29, at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, 60 Kent St., St. Paul, MN 55102.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Marine Restoration Society or to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on June 27, 2007