Melanie Joy Johnson
1952 - 2021
BORN
October 30, 1952
DIED
February 13, 2021

Melanie Joy Johnson

Melanie Joy Johnson, 68, of La Crosse died Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, from cancer.

She was the daughter of Joyce and the late Art Johnson. In addition to her mother, she is survived by her three siblings, Nancy (Stephen) Johnson Russell, Tim (Barb) Johnson, Monte (Mary) Johnson. She is also survived by nieces and nephews, Debbie (Josh) Ackerman, David (Jenny) Russell, Tom Russell, Jessie (Joey) Johnson, Chris Johnson, Taryn Johnson, Ryan (Audra) Keeney, Melanie Kathleen Johnson, Merrick Johnson, and MacKenzie Johnson.

She was known as "Aunt Melanie" to many, because of her friendliness and outgoing personality. If she met you, you became her friend. Living up to her middle name of "Joy," she spread joy and kindness to many she met on life's journey, young and old alike.

Some of her special friends included: "Sisters of the Seventies" aka "The Hens," Jeri, Shirley, Debi, Kitty, Jan, Betty, Sue; dear friends, Mary (Wozniak) Thompson, Dave, Kim, and Caleb Sisbach; long time neighbors, Jane, Ron, Michael, and Robert Fitzpatrick; as well as so many others too numerous to name.

Melanie graduated from Central High School in La Crosse and went on to earn a BS/nursing degree from the UW-Madison. Her nursing career included work at Gundersen Hospital, Watkins Manor, and her caring spirit went beyond her career and included caring for her mother. She was active in the La Crosse community, the Public Library system and as a lifelong member of First Congregational Church.

Her love of family, friends and travel were driving forces of her life and all enjoyed her cooking and baking, as she viewed food as an expression of love, with her kitchen quote: "Food is love made edible." She was also a life long learner and excelled at word games.

She had many travel and cruise adventures with her friend, Jeri, as well as travel with her sister, to Alaska, multiple trips with her brother's family, to the Bahamas and a special trip with her siblings, to the Grand Canyon just one month ago.

She partied hardy in her life, loved to be at events, share in family and friends' special days, and now gets to garden and play cribbage with her dad. Her joy of life will be missed, as well as her incredible cookies!

The family would like to especially thank Dr. Gil Harmon of Gundersen Health System Medical Oncology for outstanding professionalism, care and compassion.

Memorial gifts can be directed to First Congregational UCC Church, 2503 Main St., La Crosse, 54601; Friends of the La Crosse Public Library, 800 Main St., La Crosse, 54601; or The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse, 1240 Clinton St., La Crosse, 54603.

A memorial service will be held when the situation allows for such, hopefully this summer.

Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services of La Crosse is assisting the family. Online guestbook is available at www.schumacher-kish.com.


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Published by La Crosse Tribune on Feb. 21, 2021.
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26 Entries
My childhood friend (Jim W from Cedar Rapids) and I met Melanie at Oktoberfest 39 years ago as she sold beer tickets. I have lived in Austin TX for 3+ decades but Jim and I saw her most every year since and we consistently maintained our friendship. Melanie and I always picked up our phone conversations where we ended it last call. She was a force for extending love, caring, and friendship and that is a loss for humanity. I can't think of a more successful epitaph/passage for anyone's life.
Pat Davidson
Friend
February 28, 2021
I did not see your family often, but when I did, I saw the love within. Melanie was my age and so full of energy with such Zest for life! My heart aches for you and the loss each member of your family is feeling now. As painful as it is to say goodbye to a very close loved one, you will always find comfort in having held her sisterly hand through her entire life. As her joyful spirit soared into the ever after, she took your love along for keeps. My condolences to Nancy, Tim, Monte, and (my Aunt Joyce), as well as all extended family members. May you all find peace and joy in your memories of special moments with Melanie. I’m sending hugs.
❤ your Cousin Chris
Chris Little
February 28, 2021
We remember the fun times and parties. Melanie was vibrant and full of life. May the good Lord bless Melanie's family.
Michael & Diane Peeso
Friend
February 23, 2021
I am blessed to have known Melanie all our years at Gundersen. We would pick up our conversation and laugh know matter when we saw each other last. I always felt better after seeing her. Her picture is a true expression of her warmth and spirit.
Janean Lang
Friend
February 22, 2021
I worked at the South Branch Library for many years and got to know Melanie very well from her visits there. She was always so positive and funny and I loved hearing about all her travels. I hope there are many good books for her to read in the next dimension. She will be missed by all she touched.
Sandie Frost
Friend
February 22, 2021
I met Melanie at the Y. Life strong program. Will never forget her smile. Always happy to see me in the stories. Had a great sense of humor.
Jeanne Marth
Acquaintance
February 21, 2021
Melanie was a quality person, always alot of fun to be around The best thing I can say is when I think of her I will smile and laugh because that is what she did for you. God bless and rest in peace my friend.
David Miller
February 21, 2021
Melanie was always fun to be with. I went to a few parties when I was a senior and she was usually there. She was the life of the party. When it's time to pass on, I will definitely look her up. I love the picture. It is how I will always remember her.
scott marshall
Friend
February 21, 2021
I knew Melanie for a long time throughout our school years. I would see her in later years at reunions, grocery stores, or various other places. It was always so nice to talk to her and chat a bit. She was a wonderful person, and I am sure that she will be greatly missed by her family and all of her dear friends.
Mary (Boisen) Wilder
Classmate
February 21, 2021
She always had a smile on her face but that is probably because she had her gold maple leaf earrings in at Oktoberfest.
Tom and Doria Viner
Classmate
February 21, 2021
I went to school with Melanie from grade school through high school. I remember her as a very nice person with a great personality.
Jeff Knutson
Friend
February 21, 2021
I am one of the many who will miss Melanie! We had many conversations during coffee time at church and talked on the phone often. She was always so kind and truly a joy to know. May she rest in peace.
Doris Witmer
February 21, 2021
Melanie ran into each other at many events including crafts at the Libray. She was wonderful at them I was not yet she always found something kind and encouraging to say to me. She did bring joy into any room she was in. She pointed out to me that we were near neighbors. When I leave my home to go to events again I will miss seeing Melanie and the joy she brought into my life. God speed you to joy. God comfort all those who will miss her. neighbor Bessie Richardson
bessie Richardson
Acquaintance
February 21, 2021
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
Richard and Mary Lou Rochester and Family Rochester
Family
February 21, 2021
My heart is saddened to hear of Meianie’s passing. She was my classmate at Central. She was certainly a joy!❤ I loved catching up with her at reunions,
South Branch Library and Oktoberfest! She loved like life and her family and many lifelong friends. She certainly will be missed by so many!! May she is Rest In Peace but take some time to celebrate with the saints! ❤ Xoxo Barb Hammond
Barb Smyth
Friend
February 21, 2021
Although I have two sisters, Melanie was almost like another one to me. I was able to get to know the whole Johnson family in many directions. She was always happy to see me, especially on the Oktoberfest grounds or one of the many Johnson family gatherings that I was invited to via Monte. Her kitchen success was without equal as well including my favorites from it, lasagna and her key lime pie.
Melanie was also a great fan of attending the La Crosse band concerts at Riverside Park in the summer. My older sister was on stage performing while my mom, in a wheel chair, was in the audience specifically in 2014, the last year before my mom died. Melanie would either sit with her or certainly greet her and that always made my sister happy.
I never saw Melanie " in action" as a nurse, but I am sure she was terrific. She will be greatly missed and never forgotten, now as a "missing" sudo-sister. === GOOSE
Glenn Gossfeld
Friend
February 19, 2021
We will miss her smiling face and bubbly personality at church. She had a kind word for everyone and always took the time to listen and get to know people. Her loving spirit came out in everything she did and she was a wonderful daughter to her mom. Our prayers go out to her family and friends.
Kathy & John Storlie
Friend
February 18, 2021
Miss Melanie was a part of our family for so many years. She and Sis (Woz) were friends since school days. She shared in weddings, funerals, Birthdays, births and a lot of game days. We were blessed to have her in our lives. Melanie was one of our Mom's favorites. She will be greatly missed.
Hole. Kat
Friend
February 18, 2021
I'm so sorry for the loss of Melanie ..I played poker with her ..Melanie was the card police, Enjoyed her laughter , She'll be deeply missed!
Patty Tentis
Friend
February 18, 2021
Wayne and I are very sorry to learn of your sister’s passing, Nancy. Debbie’s tribute on Facebook to this amazing aunt lead us to this obituary. How sad to learn of her passing at such a young age. We wish the whole family condolences for Melanie’s death.
Laurie and Wayne Loosigian
Friend
February 17, 2021
Just looking at Melanie’s picture reminds me of her laugh, her love of people and her sense of humor. We grew up as church buddies through confirmation. At reunions, she always made you feel like she was so happy to see you. I’m sure she brought joy to so many patients over the years. She was far too young to leave and I know there is deep sorrow in the Johnson family. Please accept my sympathies.
Rachel Schwandt
Friend
February 17, 2021
Melanie was a great person, caring, friendly, with a great sense of humor, and always willing to help. She will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. Our prayers go out to her entire family.
Mike & Shari Myszka
Friend
February 17, 2021
I am so sorry for your loss. I worked with Melanie at Watkins Home and Lake Winona Manor for several years. She was a hard worker and took her work seriously. I remember her talking about her nieces and nephews. She always brought good food when we had potlucks at work and I have one of her recipes for a chicken salad.
Monica Harrell
Coworker
February 17, 2021
Melanie was compassionate and kind. I have so many wonderful memories of growing up with Melanie through our church. We started our friendship in the hospital as newborns, born a day apart. And continued throughout the years as Sunday school classmates, confirmation, and Central graduates. We both went on to become nurses. Melanie will be missed by so many. I’m sorry for your loss and will keep you all in my prayers. With sympathy. Ellen
Ellen Titcomb-Gordon
Friend
February 17, 2021
My heartfelt condolences to Melanie's family. I met Melanie many years ago, while we were both spectators at some Lutheran Hospital softball games and then reconnecting when we started to play monthly poker games along with Jeri. She will be missed.
Maribeth Becker
Friend
February 17, 2021
I'm so very sorry to learn of Melanie's passing. She was a beautiful, shining light in the world and will be truly missed. She always had a smile & a hug to share. I feel so fortunate to have known her, thanks to her sister Nancy,
my classmate and friend. We spent many fun times after school at the Johnson family home and I always felt welcome. My sincere condolences to all her family & friends.
Patty Sheetz Dayton
Friend
February 17, 2021