Nell Ladd Johnson
Nell Ladd Johnson, 110, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, died at her place of residence on November 11, 2018. Nell was the third child of Tom and Roxie Ladd. She was born on October 6, 1908, in the town of Mangum in the newly-formed state of Oklahoma. Her mother Roxie died at age 39, and her eldest brother Tommy died of diphtheria, leaving Nell and her brother, Burt Ladd. The children were raised by their maternal grandmother, Mattie Lee Cotton, and a maternal aunt and uncle, Nell and Oscar Norwood, on a ranch in Endee, Quay County, New Mexico. In 1927, Nell married her childhood sweetheart George Ellis Norwood. They owned a drugstore together in Clarendon, Texas. During the Great Depression, Nell made all of the food served at the drugstore lunch counter: chicken, ham, and tuna salad, along with various sweets. In 1929, Nell and George welcomed their daughter Elise into the world. The couple later divorced. In 1950, Nell married William "Bill" Johnson. They lived in various places all around California and New Mexico before Bill passed away after 56 years of marriage. Nell was an avid gardener. She had a victory garden during World War II and raised prizewinning hybrid iris in her later years. At the age of 100, she was still canning peaches from her daughter's tree. She was an expert seamstress who made all of her family's clothes, and also did flawless embroidery, smocking, crocheting and knitting. Her great-great-grandbabies are still using the heirloom items she embellished with her needlework. Nell's homemade pies and cookies were legendary; many of her handwritten recipe cards now reside in her grandchildren's and great-grandchildren's kitchens. Nell was a keen and competitive duplicate bridge player. Well into her 80s, she leapt at the chance to get an internet-enabled computer so she could play bridge online with people around the world. Her husband Bill often joked that he was married to a jack-in-the-box: Nell was always jumping up to do something. Nell is survived by her daughter Elise Norwood Semrad from Charlotte, North Carolina. She is also survived by three grandchildren, Robert Eugene Semrad (Joy), Susan Semrad Sewell (Everest) and Christina Semrad Westbrook (Dan), along with four great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. Interment will take place at the Santa Fe National Cemetery where she will be laid to rest with William Johnson.
Published in Albuquerque Journal from Dec. 23 to Dec. 24, 2018.