Ellen Ida Johnson, 101, Green Bay, went peacefully to her eternal rest on June 26th, surrounded by her family. Ellen, the daughter of Eli and Emma (Klansky) Vertz, was born May 26, 1918, in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin. On September 1, 1941, she married Floyd D. Johnson, who preceded her in death in 2004.
Following her graduation from West High School, Ellen worked as a secretary for the National Youth Administration; an FDR program, where she made $60 a month. By the end of her secretarial career, she was the second highest paid secretary in Green Bay. As a side job, for .50 an hour, she typed, on a manual typewriter mind you, all polling lists for the city of Green Bay.
Ellen enjoyed going to Bay Beach to hear big bands play in the pavilion. When she was younger, her father would pull her in her red wagon to Bay Beach for swimming and other family entertainment. More recently, she was “the first rider” on the Zippin Pippin on opening day.
Over the years, she was a member of the Green Bay Packers Quarterback Club and the Self Help Club at the YWCA, where she worked with people to improve their interviewing skills, which helped them find jobs. As Floyd drove and she navigated, they delivered countless meals for the Meals on Wheels program and visited shut-ins throughout the community. Ellen was an active member of Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church for 86 years. It was there that she met her husband Floyd, taught Sunday school and participated in woman’s bible study groups. Ellen was an active supporter of local, national, and world missions.
Ellen was an avid walker and chose not to get her drivers license, although she did test her skills on the Johnson Farm in Kenmare, North Dakota when they visited Floyd’s family. Ellen and Floyd took family trips and continued to travel after their children were grown. Ellen was proud of her Door County roots and loved its sunsets and fish boils. She also enjoyed crossword puzzles and playing Rummy 500 with her family.
Ellen was a caring person who always had time for her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Survivors include her three children, Darrell (Cathy) Johnson, Randall (Julie) Johnson and Kay Lynne (Michael) Zastrow; twelve grandchildren, Traci (Joshua) Mandell, Terry (Stuart) Rottier, Jessica (Trent) Zeitler, Erin (Justin) Mack, David (Jessica) Summerfield, Craig Summerfield, Brian (Kelly) Summerfield, Michelle (Steve) Snell, Jeff (Stacy) VanStraten, David (Laura) Zastrow, Laura (Michael) Villarreal and Elizabeth (Mark) Casteel; seventeen great-grandchildren, Jonah Mandell, Haley and Wyatt Rottier, Zoe Zeitler, Kiley Mack, Casey, London and Gigi Summerfield, Tanner, Travis and Tate VanStraten, Amanda Snell, Layla, Lukas and Landon Zastrow, Ainsley Casteel, and Elias Villarreal; and in-law, Collins (Arlene) Johnson. She is further survived by nieces, nephews, cousins and their families.
In addition to her husband Floyd, she was preceded in death by her parents; infant daughter, Suzanne; and in-laws, Alvin (Ella) Johnson and Doris (Lester) Hansen.
Ellen’s life will be celebrated on Saturday, June 29, 2019 at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church – 1350 Bond Street, Green Bay, WI. Visitation will be from 9 AM to 11 AM. A service will follow. Rev. Marilyn Lange and Rev. Trent Zeitler will be officiating. Burial at Nicolet Memorial Park. If you choose to honor Ellen, Feed My Starving Children (Mobile Pack #1910-066SC) and the Ecumenical Partnership for Housing were among her favorite organizations.
Ellen’s family would like to express a special thank you to the staff of Woodside Lutheran Homes, Unity Hospice, caring members of Bethel Lutheran Church and kind friends.
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