Johnson, Melba Jean 96

Our dear aunt, Melba Jean Johnson, 96, of Cokato, MN passed away October 19, 2021 at Cokato Manor.
Funeral Service: 11 AM Saturday, October 23, 2021 at North Crow River Lutheran Church, North of Cokato.
Visitation: 1 hour prior to service at church.
Interment: Church Cemetery.
Note: due to the church’s Covid funeral policy masks are required by all when inside the church.

Melba was born May 31, 1925 in Spring Grove, MN to Henry and Caroline (Pfister) Kittelson. She was baptized at Big Canoe Lutheran Church in rural Decorah. When she was 11 her family moved to East Chain, MN. She was confirmed at East Chain Lutheran Church and graduated from East Chain Consolidated School in 1943. Melba graduated from Waldorf College with a teaching degree and taught for 3 years after that at Swea City, IA. It was during this time at East Chain Lutheran Church when Melba felt the Holy Spirit calling her to become a missionary. She spent a year at Lutheran Bible Institute in Minneapolis for mission field preparation, and was called to serve in Bolivia, South America from 1949 to 1953. She came home when her father died and returned to teaching 6th grade in Swea City. During this time, she obtained a BA degree from Cedar Falls Teachers College by going to summer school, cared for her mother, and taught Sunday School and Bible School at East Chain. The pastor of East Chain Lutheran, Rev. Russell Peterson, and his wife Gladys were good friends of Melba’s. When they moved to Cokato, Melba would visit, and on one of those visits they introduced her to Oliver Johnson. Melba & Oliver were married November 24, 1967. Melba started teaching 5th grade at Cokato Elementary and retired in 1989 after teaching 22 years. She and Oliver enjoyed being snow birds in Sun City, AZ for 12 years after retirement.
Melba was an active member of North Crow Lutheran Church where she taught Sunday School, Bible School, led Bible studies, participated in women’s group, and sang in a trio for many years. She loved to sing and could play the piano by ear.
Melba was an excellent historian, keeping meticulous records and files of genealogy for her family, as well as her husband’s family tree. She enjoyed traveling, history, and nature, and shared these interests through photographs and journals. She welcomed her students to their farm on field trips to study conservation and nature. Melba also enjoyed watching the Twins and Vikings games on TV, and used to keep track of the players’ names in a notebook.
With the decline in her health, Melba never lost her sense of humor, her kind nature, or her strong faith. She loved singing hymns, even when it was difficult for her to speak. She was grateful for the wonderful care she received at Cokato Manor (and especially for her loving foot and hand massages from Marian). God bless her caregivers! We are so thankful to each one who showed Melba kindness, compassion and love!
Melba was preceded in death by her husband of 46 years, Oliver; her parents; her siblings and their spouses: Gavin (Ethel) Kittelson, Floyd (Evelyn) Kittelson, Evelyn (Norine) Danielson, Clifton (Joyce) Kittelson, and Odell (Margaret) Kittelson; nephews Carleton Kittelson and Paul Danielson.
Left to cherish her memory are many nieces, nephews, and their families, as well as dear friends.