Skip to content

Viola M. Johnson

Viola M. Johnson (age 95), of Kahoka, passed away peacefully at 7:20pm, on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at the Clark County Nursing Home.  Viola was born in West Burlington, Iowa on February 20, 1927, to Frank and Grace Gitchel. Viola graduated from Kahoka High School in 1945, after her family moved from Memphis to Kahoka in her senior year. She played the violin and spent many winters skating on the frozen ponds near where she lived. After High School, Viola worked at the Woolworth store in Keokuk, often walking over a mile to carpool with 4 other people to get to work.

One day Viola and her family attended the Toby and Susie Show in Kahoka when she met Carl Johnson, who was in the Navy and on leave from New York. Carl was granted permission from Frank to bring Viola home after the show, but Frank determined they were taking too long and met them both at the door with his shotgun upon their return. After a one-month engagement, Carl and Viola were married on September 26, 1945, at the Methodist Church in Wayland before Carl took her back with him to New York, where Viola found work at another Woolworth Store until Carl was out of the Navy, and together they returned to Kahoka.

Their union produced three sons and two daughters, and the family farmed together until Carl returned to the Navy in 1966 and Viola moved with him to Port Hueneme, California. After California, Viola and the youngest children went with Carl on his three-year deployment to the Philippines, where life was decidedly different from their farming experiences in the Midwest! After the Philippines, back to Port Hueneme for a brief period, then it was Gulfport, Mississippi for three years, then San Diego, then back to Port Hueneme, then off to Texas. After Carl’s retirement, they moved to Nevada, Missouri, then to Phoenix Arizona. To celebrate their 40th anniversary, their children sent them to Hawaii. In 1985 they moved to Kansas City, Missouri which was home for 25 years. During that time their children surprised them with a trip to Alaska for their 50th Anniversary. Carl eventually passed away in Kansas City, Missouri on July 3, 2010.

In the latter part of her life, Viola finally settled down at the Clark County Nursing Home in 2019 since Kahoka was ‘Home’ to her. She loved CCNH and enjoyed all the fun activities, especially Bingo, watching her favorite shows like Wheel of Fortune and Home Alone.  Viola had a full and active life, and somehow, throughout all her travels and moves, Viola managed to make a home for her family, grow her beautiful gardens, and become an avid crocheter, and quilter, and canning the bounty from her harvest. She was the epitome of the word “mom”. A caring nurturer and loving partner, she will be dearly missed.

Viola is survived by her children; Bob (Pam) Johnson, of Livingston, Texas, Don Johnson of Henderson, Nevada, and Glen Johnson, of Kansas City, Missouri; daughters, Barbara (Kevin) Lyon, of Livingston, Texas, and Beverly (Steve) Heathman of Munford, Tennessee; 11 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren, and many other extended relatives.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Carl; her brothers Leon and Leo, and her sister Nevada.

There will be a funeral Service for Viola at 2:00pm, Saturday, April 2, 2022, at Wilson & Triplett Funeral Home in Kahoka. Pastor Shawn McAfee will officiate. A public visitation will take place at 1:00pm, Saturday, April 2, 2022, an hour prior to service time.

Memorials in Viola’s memory may be directed to the Clark County Nursing Home or the Alzheimer’s Association in Columbia, Missouri.

Friends and family are invited to share their memories of Viola at