1939 – 2021
Lolo – Shirley Jean Johnson, 82, of Lolo, passed away on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at her home with her many nieces and nephews by her side.
Shirley was born on February 24, 1939 in Polson, Montana. She was one of 14 children born to Norwegian parents, Ole and Emma (Thompson) Nelson. She loved Flathead Lake. She and her sisters would head over to Polson Bay dock and spend hours diving into the lake. Her family later moved to Missoula County, moving around with her mom and oldest brother, Oliver, and other brothers to various logging sites. They lived and worked at the Rossignol Ranch for many years. She attended high school at the Missoula County High School and graduated in 1957. She later moved out to Seattle to live with her sister, Pearl.
She met her husband, Chuck Johnson, at a dance in Tacoma, Washington in 1959 and they were married on February 6, 1960. Shirley and Chuck enjoyed living in Seattle. She worked at an insurance agency and he worked in the chrome plating business. Each weekend would find them boating and fishing in the Puget Sound and in Canada unless they decided to make a mad dash to Montana to have a good time with the family. In 1969, the Montana Family won their hearts. They moved to Montana, residing in the Stevensville area until the home they were building in Lolo was completed.
Shirley loved hard work. She worked at Glacier General Assurance Company until she and her husband started their own business, All American Bumper and Plating. In 1989, they opened Powder Coating of Montana. Hard work was both of their mottos, but they always rewarded their hard work with lots of play too. Family was their Number One love – and they enjoyed many weekends at Blue Bay on Flathead Lake. They invited many family members up to camp out with them. They boated, water skied, fished and had more fun than anyone could imagine. Their second best get away was Shirley’s sister and brother-in-law’s ranch in Stevensville. They would take a quick 20-minute drive and oftentimes spend the night. Life at the ranch would include several activities including branding, farming, hunting, gardening, canning, gopher hunting or anything that involved being together outdoors. Once the outdoor activities ended, they were sure to pick up a game of pinochle, cribbage, cards or dice, as well as a few drinks!
Chuck and Shirley enjoyed their travels. They ventured to Canada for family reunions, Wisconsin to visit Chuck’s family, small trips around Montana, cruises to Alaska and through the Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaii, Aruba, and the Oregon Coast. The two of them would oftentimes sneak away to enjoy a little time at Jackpot.
They sold their business and retired in 1998, enabling them to have more time to spend with their families and enjoy their home in Lolo. They were quite the tag team. They loved their Macintosh apple trees and would make many pints of homemade applesauce. Shirley was a great cook and canner. She always made lefse during the holidays and claimed the fame for her homemade cheesecake and prime rib. She loved the game of pinochle and enjoyed many pinochle parties with family and after retiring, she joined up with a few ladies to play the game. She reserved the game of cribbage for many family members. And, she won much of the time!
Having great faith, Shirley was involved with her church, Lolo Community Church. She was on the food committees for the church outreach service. She was consistent in reading her Bible and her prayer time. One of her many favorite Bible verses was Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” She never wanted to be a burden to anyone and wanted to be in her home until the time of her death. She had it her way; family cared for her at her home until the time of her passing. She passed with dignity, a clear head and with many loved nieces and nephews by her side. We give an extra big thank you to Hospice of Missoula and Azaleas Home Care and Services for answering our prayers and concerns and assisting in her difficult last days.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Chuck, her parents and five brothers, Oliver, Elmer, Ed, Ted and John and eight sisters, Julia, Violet, Emily, Ruth, Pearl, Lillian, Florence and Bessie. She is survived by a sister-in-law Carol Schaekel, Butternut, Wisconsin and a brother-in-law, Richie (Vickie) Kilger, Wisconsin and many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
Services will be held at Lolo Community Church on May 28, 2022 at 11:00. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Hospice of Missoula, 1900 So. Reserve, Missoula MT 59801 or Lolo Community Church, PO Box 1323, Lolo MT 59847.