Gladys M. Johnson, 89, of Boise, passed away on March 4, 2018. Born Dec 10, 1928, at home, in Minneapolis, MN, she was the fifth of six children born to Ernest and Dagney Asp, and grew up with her family operating a boarding house near the University of Minnesota. She recounted stories of learning how to make beds by helping her older sister, Lorraine, change beds for boarders. Another fond childhood memory was playing the piano while her sister, Elenore, played the violin. Gladys is survived by two sisters, Lorraine Utterberg of Richfield, MN and and Luella Buranen of Tacoma, WA. Gladys was preceded in death by her parents, husband Edwin “Ed” Johnson, brother Ray Asp, sisters Florence Watson and Elenore Severson, and great grandson Edwin Oliver Johnson.
Gladys graduated from Marshall High School in Minneapolis in 1946 and then worked at the
University of Minnesota in the Office of Admissions and Records. She married Ed in 1947 in a double wedding ceremony with her sister Elenore. They had four children: Kent Johnson
(Pam) of Boise ID, Dennis Sonifer (Kathryn Lange) of Arlington MA, Marcia Milleville (Dan) of Arnold MD, and Kevin Johnson (Karen) of Boise ID. Gladys was blessed with eight
grandchildren: Pip Lafleur (Lisa) of Lake Forest Park WA, Elizabeth Roberts (Kevin) of Bellevue WA, Anthony Sonifer of Apple Valley MN, Crystal Sonifer of Brooklyn Park MN, Shawn Milleville (Diane) of Odenton MD, Nathan Milleville (Kristina) of Colbert WA, Andrea Baerwald (John) of Boise ID, Matthew Johnson (Mia) of Portland OR and ten great-grandchildren.
After they were married, Ed began his teaching career in Frazee and Campbell MN, where their children were born. In 1956, the family moved to Meridian ID, joining several fellow teachers and the pastor of their church who had moved to Idaho previously. Gladys worked as a seamstress at Nadine Miller Draperies from 1958 to 1963, as a bookkeeper for Royal Lincoln Mercury from 1965 to 1967, and for the State of Idaho in various departments until she retired in 1978. The family moved from Meridian to Boise in 1967.
Gladys was an active member of her church families wherever she lived, most recently Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Boise. Gladys was a choir member for 60+ years, meeting her husband of 54 years, Ed, in a church choir. She was also active for 69 years in the Lutheran Women's Missionary League, serving as the Utah - Idaho District President from 1978 to 1982.
Gladys loved to travel and over her lifetime visited many places, mostly with Ed or other family members. As a young family in the early 60’s, all six traveled from Idaho to New Hampshire for three summers, exploring many parts of the United States and learning about outdoor camping; an amazing feat with four children in a car with no air conditioning and an absence of freeways!
With Ed, Gladys took many trips to explore new states and visit family in the USA, visit
Scandinavia to explore where their families had immigrated from, as well as many camping trips in their beloved Idaho mountains. After his passing, she traveled with friends and family to Alaska and Europe, as well as visit family in Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington, and Oregon. She instilled into her children her love of travel and adventure.
Gladys had a love of sewing that she shared with her daughter Marcia. Ed used to always joke that if Mom had a sewing project going, she could easily forget to eat or sleep as she would sew late into the night. As she grew up, Marcia’s wardrobe, as well as her dolls, featured a beautiful collection of hand sewn garments starting with matching dresses that Gladys made to helping Marcia with her blue ribbon 4H sewing projects that she and Gladys created together. Making sure that patterns and plaids match up has become a lifelong habit for Marcia, especially when buying an outfit for Mom, based on Mom’s high sewing standards. The homes of Gladys’ kids and grandkids proudly display curtains and quilts made by her hand.
Gladys also had a lifelong love of reading and education. She and Ed made tremendous
sacrifices to help their four children attend and graduate from Valparaiso University.
Graduations by children and grandchildren were events that could not be missed, even when
attendance required driving 30 hours straight through to Valparaiso IN and then back to return to work. The Johnson families, down to the great grandchildren, all have a love of reading thanks to her example. It is not unusual for several of us to be in the same, quiet room because all noses are buried in a book. If the room is noisy, it is most likely because we are playing a game which Gladys always enjoyed; especially when she won.
Her family especially thanks the staffs of First Choice Hospice and MorningStar Senior Living for their considerate and loving care of Gladys and the family.
A memorial service to celebrate Gladys’ life is planned for May 12, 2018 at 11:00 AM at
Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, 2981 E Boise Ave in Boise .
In lieu of flowers, Gladys requested contributions be sent to: Lutheran Women’s Missionary
League, Mission Goal Fund www.LWML.org / or 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St Louis, MO 63118; or Camp Perkins, LOM General Fund http://www.campperkins.org/ or Camp Perkins, 219 S. River St, Ste 203, Hailey, ID 83333.