Roselyn Johnson
1918 - 2020
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Roselyn Johnson

Appleton - Roselyn Johnson age 102, died at Willow Lane Assisted Living on August 7, 2020. She was born in the town of Deerfield, Dane County, on June 14, 1918, the youngest of six children of Lars and Mary Simonson. Her parents and four sisters and a brother are all deceased.

She was a 1935 graduate of Deerfield High school and she received a Bachelor of Education degree from Whitewater State Teachers College in 1940. She taught business education at Shawano High School for two years and at Sheboygan North High School for one year. Then in 1943 she went to Madison. She was employed by the USDA social conservation service, forest products laboratory, and as a deputy in the office of Dane County Clerk.

In 1946 she married Oscar "Ozzie" Johnson, a Madison artist well known for his watercolors and cartoons. They lived their entire married life in Madison and were very active members of Messiah Lutheran Church. He died in 1980.

In 1949 she was employed by attorney John Lawton in the law firm of Beggs and Lawton and continued to work as his legal secretary and later became the office manager of the firm Lawton and Cates, a position she held until her retirement in 1982. She was a very active member in the Madison and Wisconsin legal secretary association and was elected to leadership positions in both organizations.

She moved to Tomah, WI in 1987. While in Tomah she served as president of the Tomah Women's Club, was a member of the Tomah study club, and a hospital auxiliary volunteer. In January 2011 she moved to Appleton, WI and resided at renaissance assisted living. The past five years Willow Lane assisted living was her home.

Roselyn was a lifelong Lutheran and proud of her Norwegian heritage. As a stalwart Democrat she was always interested in politics. She was always curious, liked good conversations, and was an expert crossword puzzle solver doing them in ink until she was 96 when a severe stroke prevented her from doing them. Viewing the Badgers, Packers and Brewers on T.V. was a favorite past time.

As per her request of cremation, she also requested no funeral service. Interment will be at Roselawn Memorial Park in Madison. A private family celebration of her life will be held at a future time.

She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Judy (Johnson) and Tony Hinden and their children Kelly and Jenna of Eau Claire; Amy (Jason) VandenBerg and their children Taylor, Nick and Kate of Appleton; and Kristen (David) Sewell of Lake Elmo MN and their child Ryan.

Special thanks to the staff at Renaissance and Rennes for their kind care. And a very special appreciation to the staff of Willow Lane Assisted Living for their genuine warm and loving kindness and care during the last years of her life.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Appleton Post-Crescent from Aug. 8 to Aug. 10, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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5 entries
August 22, 2020
We had the privilege of getting to know Roselyn when she was at Willow Lane where our Aunt resides. The first time I met her she told me I looked like one of her very good friends. Knowing that she had lived in Madison where I grew up, I asked her what her friends name was. She said Marnie and I said, "not Marnie Cates", to which she replied, "Yes". I was shocked as was she. Marnie was a high school classmate's mother and after that Roselyn and I became fast friends. She was always a delight to visit with and she always seemed to win when we played Scrabble. Roselyn shared our love of Badger sports and sometimes would let us know what the scores were before we had a chance to see for ourselves. She had a wonderful sense of humor and wit - "sharp as a tack" we couldn't get much past her. And she remembered things we had talked about or she would ask about about trips we returned from. Roselyn rarely missed a Willow Lane church service and sang the hymns heartily. We will truly miss seeing her face and conversing with her though we delight in the fact that she is "whole" and in the presence of her Savior.
We feel very privilege to have gotten to know her these past years.
Carol and Carter Noble
Carol and Carter Noble
August 21, 2020
Roselyn was a dear friend of my mom-Margaret Koster (having met at Lawton & Cates). She became my friend, too, and then pen pals after she moved to Tomah. She gave me encouragement and support after I'd lost my mom, her friend. I loved Roselyn's wit, sense of humor and forthright personality. Will never forget the time when my husband and I visited her in Tomah-she served lunch, and then promptly placed the dirty dishes in the cupboards under her sink. She made it clear we weren't going to worry about the dishes--it was time to visit and have some laughs. I'm thinking of her family and sending my condolences.
Fran Pfefferkorn
August 12, 2020
I worked with Roselyn at Lawton & Cates and admired her greatly. So intelligent, honest and kind. My sympathies to her family. A life well lived.
Beth McLimans
August 9, 2020
I have lost my dear friend from Willow Lane. My Dad, Bob, was Roselyn’s neighbor there, two doors away. Dad died March 16. I visited him almost daily for three years, and most days also stopped to see and talk to Roselyn. You can imagine our topics of conversation - family, her career, religion, news, sports, and POLITICS!!! One day she asked me about the status of the Fox River clean-up so I did some research, then took my iPad along to read it to her. I never ceased to be amazed at Roselyn’s eagerness to stay current. And she she taught me so much about life. On her 100th birthday, I asked her to share some nuggets of wisdom. Here is some of what she said: “You remember what you want to remember.” “A sense of humor is a gift, and sometimes the best medicine.” “The key to a long life is to not worry. Bad things can happen even if we DO worry, and worry makes nothing better.” I stopped visiting because of the pandemic, not because my Dad was no longer there. My plan had been to continue to visit her often. Since I couldn’t be there in person, I wrote cards and letters which I hope had brightened her long days. I miss Roselyn, but know she is at peace with no encumbrances. God bless you all! My love to your family. Thanks for sharing her with me! Kathy
Kathy Damon
August 8, 2020
I met Roselyn doing pet therapy. I will miss her very much! I loved talking politics with her. She was so clever!! I'm so sad that COVID prevented me from seeing her these past months. She touched my heart forever! So sorry for your loss!!
Sue Kurey
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