Bernice Irene Johnson, the daughter of Holger and Agnetta (Jorgenson) Pedersen, was born on November 12, 1918, in rural Kimballton, Iowa. After graduating from Kirkman (Iowa) High School in 1936, she attended summer school in Cedar Falls, Iowa, to obtain her teaching certificate. She then taught country school north of Irwin, Iowa, for four years. On June 3, 1941, Bernice married Keith Deen Johnson in Omaha, Nebraska. The couple lived in California during World War II; they returned to Harlan, Iowa, in 1954. Bernice again taught school, first in rural schools and then at Laurel School in Harlan. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Drake University in 1962. Bernice continued teaching until her retirement in 1980.
Bernice was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Harlan, Iowa, where she was active in the quilting group and Bible studies. She was a life member of the National Education Association and an active volunteer at the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa. Bernice loved traveling and camping with her husband; the couple had been to all 50 states. Bernice also enjoyed spending her time sewing.
Bernice I. Johnson died on Monday, October 2, 2006, at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, at the age of 87 years, 10 months, and 20 days.
Bernice was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Keith D. Johnson, on May 12, 1992; one daughter, Cheryl Plumb; three brothers, Russell Pedersen, Ralph Pedersen, and Clifford Pedersen; and one sister, Esther Olson. Survivors include one son, Keith Lee Johnson of Scotia, New York; two granddaughters, Stephanie (Franklin Nichols) Johnson of Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, and Kimberly (Robert) Lewis of Burnt Hills, New York; one grandson, Hylon (Anita Pilkerton-Plumb) Plumb IV of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; two great-grandsons, Hylon Theron Plumb V of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Nicholas Theodore Deen Johnson of Pilot Mountain, North Carolina; one great-granddaughter, Jenna Nichols of Pilot Mountain, North Carolina; and other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held on Friday, October 6, 2006, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Pastor Heather Ploen officiating. Marge Ahrenholtz served as the organist, and Lee Nelson was the soloist. Casket bearers were Don Andersen, Leo Goeser, Bruce Nelson, Richard Olsen, Bob Lewis, and Grant Thayer. Burial was in the Harlan Cemetery in Harlan, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan was in charge of the arrangements.