Lucille A. Johnson, 96, of Maple Park and Cortland, passed away peacefully surrounded by the love and prayers of her family at the Champaign County Nursing Home on Friday, Feb. 10, 2012.
She was born Feb. 16, 1915, in Kaneville, the daughter of Foster Raymond and Laura Rebecca (Miller) Kahl.
Lucille grew up in the Kaneville area and graduated from Kaneville High School in 1933. Following graduation, she found work as a housekeeper for a time, but also spent time behind the counter at the hardware store in Maple Park.
She married her high school sweetheart, Merle Johnson, on Feb. 12, 1938. They lived for 40 years on the family farm near Maple Park, and following their retirement they purchased a home near Cortland, where they could still see the silos of their farm. After Merle’s passing in 1986, Lucille continued to make her home in Cortland until declining health brought her into the care of Champaign County Nursing Home in 2008.
Lucille was a past member of the Grace United Methodist Church in Maple Park and Ladies Aid for many years.
Lucille was a quiet and humble lady who never put herself first. She was much loved and cherished by her family.
She and Merle shared the workload of the family farm, side by side. She was a child of the depression and worked hard all her life. When needed, she was in the fields on the tractor in addition to many other tasks, such as chicken feeding, egg gathering, cattle “doctoring” with Merle, gardening, canning, and being a wonderful wife and mother. Many times she would work tirelessly only to return to the kitchen and prepare wonderful meals sure to satisfy any appetite. Her moist chocolate cake and “one of a kind” fudge are the stuff of culinary legend.
She was an avid garage sale and flea market shopper, with a keen eye for the unusual and unique, including her fascination with children’s toys. After retirement, she and Merle spent many happy days going to garage sales together and tending their garden.
At age 60, Lucille took up oil painting. She now leaves behind many beautiful paintings that are cherished by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved bright colors and flowers. She was an intelligent and artistic lady who often surprised those around her with her witty remarks at unexpected times. On the farm, she planted a wonderful display of Zinnia’s—her favorite—as well as a favorite of the many butterflies they attracted. She was adored by the many stray cats who ate well, being recipients of her kind-heartedness.
She is survived by two daughters, Nancy (Richard) Spears of Union, Ill. and Judy (Al) Lutton of Champaign, Ill.; three grandchildren, John (Kindra) Spears and their four children, Naomi, Jared, Nicole, and Jadon—all of Johnsburg, Ill., Brian (Karen) Spears and their daughters, Kira and Christina—all of Algonquin, Ill., and Kathy (Shawn) Artis of Glendale Heights, Ill.; one brother, Glenn Kahl of Maple Park; and many nieces, nephews and friends, who will miss her dearly.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Merle; one daughter, Mary, in infancy; and two sisters, Dorothy McAdams and Alice Schroyer.
Visitation was from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A funeral service to celebrate her life followed at 11 a.m. Rev. Lisa Kruse-Stafford, pastor of the Cornerstone United Methodist Church, Plato Center, officiated, and interment followed at Kaneville Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to a memorial that has been established in her name to benefit her favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Lucille Johnson Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com, where you can find her full life story.