Verla Jane Johnson
Verla Jane Johnson passed away at her home in Goltry on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Born July 9, 1929, she was 91 years old. Verla lived most of her life in Goltry, raised by her parents, John and Ella Schmidt and with her brother, Glade, all preceding her in death. Verla was a woman of strong faith in Christ, described by this reference in the Psalms, “She confidently trusts the Lord to take care of her.”
On Feb. 23, 1952, Verla married her rascal sweetheart, Robert “Bob” Johnson. They had a marriage that flourished for nearly 60 years until Bob passed away in 2011, but the love never ended. Verla talked about him often, kept his picture by her side, and recently, as her health declined, talked about going to be with him. They had an astonishing romance—lots of red roses for anniversaries and birthdays, special gifts at Christmas, and surprises at every turn. They loved to visit friends, playing cards and drinking coffee, and sometimes taking spontaneous trips to visit kids and grandkids. It was a marriage of unconditional love and devotion, an example to Bob and Verla's children and grandchildren.
Indeed, Verla’s love shined especially bright as she cared for those children: Kim and Cathy Johnson of Helena, Rockford and Elizabeth Johnson of Norman, Tammy Johnson of Goltry, and Jody Johnson of Lawrence, Kansas. She loved the grandchildren and their spouses who called her “Mema” and “Grandma”: Ryan, Levi and Lacey, Curtis and DeeDee, Kory and Julie, Micah, Kate and Randy, Emily and Clint, and Meredith. Over the years she became “Grandma Verla” to eight great grandchildren and loved their hugs to her final days. All of this family survives her and brings a part of her to the world around them.
For years Verla worked with Bob on the farm—driving trucks for harvest and hay season, moving cattle, often with children in tow. At one point they followed the harvest north to Canada as custom harvesters, with Verla cooking for the crew in a trailer, home to the family of six, the youngest just a baby. As the kids grew, Verla took a bookkeeping position with Marlatt Auto Supply in Enid where she officed with her best friend, Lucille, for over 25 years. Thought to be retired, she then took a position with the Farmer’s Cooperative in Goltry and then with Sidwell Insurance, also in Goltry. She loved her days in the Sidwell office with Brenda and the crew, working there full-time past her eighty-fourth birthday.
Verla was there for her kids, at livestock shows, parked at the end of the Helena football field, in the gym watching No. 21 in orange and black dribble the ball up the court, or driving across counties to follow the Riverside Quartet. At home, the food on the table always grew a crowd—her roast and roast gravy, pecan pie, oatmeal cake, and swiss steak not to mention hot hamburgers and homemade malts in the harvest field. And Mom sent cards to her kids at college or on birthdays, often with some cash or a check, always with some of the verse underlined.
Holidays were special to Verla as was marking the milestones of her children. She loved to decorate the house and host those from her mother’s clan on Christmas Eve. July 4th was always combined with her birthday celebration with extended family filling the patio. Since Bob passed in 2011, her daughter, Tammy, has been her constant companion (and sometimes partner in pranks and scheming), the two of them planning birthday parties and gatherings to bring the family home.
The service for Verla will be 10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 17, 2021 at First Nazarene Church in Helena, Oklahoma with Dr. Rockford Johnson and Rev. Dean Holt officiating. Burial will follow in Karoma Cemetery, east of Goltry, with arrangements by Lanman Funeral Home, Inc. of Helena. www.lanmanmemorials.com Facebook: Lanman Funeral Home Inc. Visitation with the family present will take place today, Friday, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Memorials may be made to the Goltry Fire Department through the funeral home.