Lorraine E. Johnson, age 101, of Winona, Minn., passed away on April 28 (unrelated to COVID-19). She was born on August 25, 1918, to Paul and Emma (Schmidt) Fenske on a farm near Utica, Minn. She lived in Winona her entire life, graduating from Winona High School in 1937 and Winona Secretarial School. She married John P. Johnson on June 23, 1938. Together they had two sons.
She worked at Winona Knitting Mills for 14 years and then 29 years at St. Mary’s University Library. She was a member of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church where she was active in Bible circle, fellowship clubs, altar committee, and other volunteer events. This was an important part of her life. Her volunteering expanded to the Winona Public Library, Winona Hospital and Recreation Therapy for many years.
Lorraine loved to travel, visiting many U.S. states and other countries, and making new friends on her guided tours. She was very talented behind her sewing machine, with a crochet hook in her hand, and with a bag of sugar and flour. She was famous for always having a glass dish full of nuts (you had to crack your own shell), hard candy nearby, and a container of cookies on top of her refrigerator. In addition, she was always ready to share her favorite snack of peaches in milk with a sprinkle of sugar.
A life-long tradition she generously carried out was to take her grandchildren, and later all great-grandchildren, shopping for a new school outfit in the fall and again at Christmastime, memories the family will never forget.
She was proud to say that she walked her 36 blocks every day until she reached her upper-80s. She lived in her own home until age 94, even operating her own snowblower for the small jobs. She was independent, strong-willed, and a caring mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and friend.
Lorraine deeply loved her family and was proud of their talents and accomplishments. She is survived by her son, Steven (Dawn) Johnson; daughter-in-law, Darlene Johnson; grandchildren, Brenda (Mike) Sing, Becky (Kevin) Mueller, Stephanie (Tyler) Gronseth, and Tyler Johnson; seven great-grandchildren; eight great-great grandchildren; brothers, Ralph and Reuben (Ted) Fenske; sister-in-law, Arlene Fenske; and many nieces and nephews. She was the oldest of 13 children and was preceded in death by her husband; oldest son, Kenneth; brothers, Ronald, Gerald, Alvin, Marvin, Alfred, and Ben Fenske; and sisters, Loretta Noeksa, Marian Magnuson, Shirley Snider, and Joyce Fenske.
A private family service will be held for Lorraine. Please leave a memory of Lorraine and sign her online guestbook at www.hofffuneral.com. Cards may be mailed to Hoff Funeral Home, C/O Lorraine Johnson Family, 3480 Service Drive, Goodview, Minn., 55987. Hoff Celebration of Life