WHITEHALL -- Virginia Jean Johnson, 77, an articulate and wonderful mother, died at her home in Whitehall on May 5, 2007, after a very courageous three-year battle with ovarian cancer.
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At her request, a private family service will be held at a later date, with burial of her remains at Mayn Cemetery in White Sulphur Springs.
She is survived by a son, Tom Johnson of Grand Junction, Colo.; daughters, Dorene Johnson of Belgrade, and Gail Johnson of Wolf Creek; brothers, Lloyd Spring of Arlington, Wash., Eugene of Colville, Wash., Edward of Lewiston, Idaho, Neil of Bouse, Ariz., Larry of Trout Creek, Frank and Darrell of Noxon; sisters, Eleanor Lee of Milton-Freewater, Ore., Eileen Lee of Eugene, Ore., and Brenda Traffrey of Point Baker, Alaska; five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Virginia was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Leon Johnson; son, Gary and daughter, Patricia (Porter) Johnson; her parents, Ralph and Rintha Spring; brother, Norman; and sister, Marcella Grant.
Virginia was born Sept. 14, 1929, in Livingston. The eldest of 13 children, she spent the majority of her younger years in Sedan, helping raise her younger brothers and sisters. Her father owned and operated a cheese factory in Sedan and another in Ballantine.
She was sorely missed when she left home at the age of 19, and on Oct. 10, 1948, she married Robert "Bob" Johnson of White Sulphur Springs. They continued to live in Montana for several years, then moved to Weed, Calif., where they spent the next 16 years working and raising family.
After her husband passed away in 1976 and her children were grown, Virginia was ready for a new chapter in her life. She moved to Washington state in 1977 and then back home to Montana in 1988. During this time, she purchased and remodeled five separate homes, continued with her avid gardening, canning and preserving goods, raised small stock including goats, rabbits and her greatest love was raising chickens.
She spent two years in Alaska as a cook in gold mining camp out of Eagle River and was a chief cook and bottle washer on several guided hunting expeditions. Virginia's passions were reading, gardening, road trips, her Chihuahuas, and dancing. She spent many a Sunday afternoon kicking up her heels at Bordens in Whitehall. She was a very beautiful and classy lady.
Our wonderful mother will be remembered as the one who was always there for the family. She never judged us or interfered in our lives. While it was OK for others to depend on her, she was fiercely independent when it came to herself not being beholden to anyone. She was determined not to be a burden on her family as her illness progressed. Virginia got her way and peacefully departed from this life as gracefully as she lived it. God bless her loving soul. May we all live life with no regrets.
Condolences may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Gail Johnson, P.O. Box 111, Wolf Creek, MT 59648.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the American Cancer Society.
K&L Mortuaries & Crematory of Whitehall is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 17, 2007