Rose Mary Graf Johansen
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Rose Mary Graf Johansen quietly departed this life on Friday, February the 8th. She was born to Minnie & John Graf in Billings, Missouri on August 28, 1922. A touchstone for many, she had a generous spirit and giving heart. She instilled a generous work ethic and community spirit in her children and grandchildren. Her legacy lives on through the lives she has touched.
A true "Rosie the Riveter," she moved to California after graduating from Billings High School and worked for Lockheed installing oil coolers on B17s. She also worked for the Gates Paper Factory briefly and it was there that she be friended a woman named Mary Whitney. They remained close even after Rose Mary moved back to Missouri. During a visit, Mary mentioned she was dating a man named Herman and he had a brother, Marvin, who was unattached at the time. Rose Mary and Marvin corresponded for 8 months before actually meeting each other. After a week spent together he proposed.
Marvin and Rose Mary were married for 49 wonderful years. Marvin and Rose Mary opened Johansen's Cafe, which they operated alongside Marvin's brother, Herman and his wife Mary. Times changed, and the cafe closed its doors. Rose Mary took a job at the local Dairy Queen and it was during an evening deposit run to the bank, she was offered a part-time job collecting gas and water bills for the city. That small part-time job grew into a 25-year career as Billings City Clerk. She was the local historian and if you wanted to know something, you called Rose Mary! Even in retirement she fielded calls and was happy to do so. Rose Mary believed you should always give back to your community.
Her life's mission was to help others. She was active in the USO, organizing dances, writing letters to soldiers, selling war bonds and counseling returning servicemen. She was a member of the Billings Fire Board, PTA, Fair Board, Billings Senior Center & Billings Christian Church. Rose Mary loved her family, being surrounded by friends, holidays (especially Halloween), NASCAR's Jeff Gordon and The St. Louis Cardinals. She loved baseball season and you might catch her with one baseball game on the radio while watching another on TV.
Rose Mary was reunited in heaven with her parents, Minnie &John Graf, husband Marvin Johansen, Brothers Virgil Graf and Jim Shreve, and sisters Elizabeth & Martha Shreve. Miss Kitty is probably curled up by her side. She will forever be loved and missed by her brother Frankie Shreve and his wife Doris. She was a loving mother to Margaret and Stan Sekscinski, Martha and Tony Schatz, Herman Johansen, Marvon and CW Browning. Heather Johansen and Chad Woody, Katrina and Tito Godfrey, Cassandra and Antonio Martinez and Nathan Johansen were honored to call her Grandma. Rose Mary was elated to be a great-grandma. Alex, Aaron, Marley and Penelope Rose will all miss their Gigi. Several nieces and nephews will always remember good times with Aunt Rose Mary.
Visitation will be held at Meadors Funeral Home in Billings on Wednesday, February 13 from 6p-8p. Funeral services will be held in the Billings Christian Church on February 14 at 10:30 am with burial following in St. Peter's Cemetery in Billings.
Thank you to the Republic Senior Friendship Center for the hot meals and the loving hands that delivered them. To Omega Hospice, your care and compassion will never be forgotten. Phyllis, you helped her stay at home as long as she could and we thank you for that. Donations can be made in her memory to the Billings Christian Church.
Published in the News-Leader from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14, 2013