LaVonne Genevieve Johnson, 94
LaVonne Genevieve Johnson, age 94 of New Hampton, died Thursday, April 22, 2021, at the New Hampton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 28, 2021, at Jerico Lutheran Church, rural New Hampton with Pastor Peter Faugstad presiding. Interment will follow at the church cemetery.
Friends may greet the family 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, 2021, at the Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service on Wednesday at the church.
LaVonne was born on February 2, 1927, to Olaf and Pauline (Landsverk) Knutson in Lawler, and grew up in the Jerico area. She attended country schools before transferring to New Hampton High School, where she was a member of the Class of 1945.
After graduation, she went to work at the First National Bank in New Hampton, and at a dance one night in Spillville, she met a young man named A. Donald Johnson, a talented baseball player that everyone knew as “Satch.” They began dating, fell in love, and were married on September 7, 1947, at Jerico Lutheran Church.
The couple began their married life on a farm near Jerico and welcomed their two children — Deborah and Ovey — who will tell you that they had a mother who was loving and kind and a mom who was an outstanding cook and baker. Put it this way: No one left the Johnson house hungry. LaVonne’s brownies were, in a word, legendary, and she used the same brownie pan every single time.
LaVonne was also a skilled seamstress, crafter, quilter, and embroiderer. Without using patterns, she designed and created dresses and suits. Her embroidered dishtowels were not only beautiful but functional. Her creativity led to the best homemade gifts for her children, her grandchildren, and her greats.
In 1967, the Johnsons moved into New Hampton, and LaVonne went back to work for First National Bank, and also worked at Production Credit and the old Security State Bank before retiring.
She adored her five grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, and they will tell you nothing beats a “sleepover” at Grandma’s. LaVonne would make her homemade Mac-N-Cheese (no offense to Kraft, but LaVonne’s Mac-N-Cheese was the absolute best) and they would snuggle up in the “Yellow Slippery Comforter,” a blanket that had a shiny, satiny feel to it, and life was perfect. Years later, LaVonne’s two granddaughters each received “half” of the comforter, and it was a gift Heather and Jennifer will treasure for the rest of their lives.
LaVonne and Satch loved supporting their grandchildren and attended as many of their activities as they could, and they traveled with Ovey and his family to Spain for the marriage of one of her grandsons.
When Satch passed away 10 years ago, LaVonne not only lost her husband of 64 years but her best friend. Yet, she persevered and was strong for her family, which along with her faith, were the cornerstones of her life. She was a longtime member of Jerico Lutheran Church.
There is no question that Deb and Ovey, the five grandkids, the 12 “greats” and all who knew LaVonne are going to miss her dearly, and not just because of those brownies, the crafts and handmade clothes and dish towels. No, what they will, is that LaVonne understood that there was no better gift she could give than her time, and she did it so very well for 94 years.
LaVonne is survived by one daughter, Deborah (Steve) Riley of New Hampton; one son, Ovey (Shirley) Johnson of New Hampton; five grandchildren, Heather (Eric) Gunderson, Adam (Jessica) Riley, Matthew (Lourdes) Johnson, John (Tina) Riley, Jennifer (Wes) Busch; twelve great-grandchildren.
LaVonne was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Donald on October 28, 2011.