Erna Johnson, 82 / July 8, 1928 — Oct. 6, 2010

Published 2:57 am Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Erna K. Johnson, 82, of Apache Junction, Ariz.,  passed away at Hospice of the Valley in Mesa, Ariz. on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010 after battling recurring infections and complications for nearly a year.

She was born July 8, 1928 in Hallein, Austria and was raised by her beloved foster-mother “O’Mommy.” She graduated high school and became fluent in English, and it was then she met the love of her life and future husband, Robert E. Johnson. He was stationed in Austria shortly after World War II, and re-enlisted twice to make sure the Army would allow him to bring his beautiful bride back to the United States.

They were married in Salzburg, Austria on Nov. 17, 1948, and settled in Niles soon after.

Together they raised two sons and one daughter: Henry, Dwain and Teresa.

“Mammaw,” as her family called her, led an active life including living and working on the farm while the kids were growing up. There were also many trips back to Austria to visit family. One of her favorite pastimes was square dancing with her husband Bob, and she enjoyed many fun filled occasions at the German Dank Club in St. Joseph. Her wonderful Austrian recipes where always a hit at gatherings, and will be passed down through the family for future generations to enjoy.

In her later years, Erna and Bob kept very busy with their turquoise jewelry business, setting up at many of the arts and crafts festivals locally.

They traveled in their motorhome out west for the winters, and took their jewelry business on the road with them, making many new friends at festivals and flea markets along the way.

While out west, Erna always looked forward to their trips to Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nev. to enjoy the wonderful buffets and try their luck at the tables.

Erna and Bob lived in Niles for more than 40 years. She worked at Simplicity Pattern Co. before retiring, and moved to Apache Junction, Ariz. in 1992.

She will always be remembered for her “happy to see you smile,” and her love for her family.

Erna was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Charlotte Höllbacher of Austria; brothers, Franz Voggenberger, Fritz Moosmann, Helmut Moosmann, all of Austria; daughter, Teresa Johnson-Cole of Niles; and infant daughter, Angela Sue Johnson.

She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Robert E. Johnson of Apache Junction, Ariz.; sons, Albert Henry “Hank” Johnson and wife, Maureen, of Niles, Dwain A. Johnson and wife, Julie, of Gilbert, Ariz.; grandchildren, Dean Johnson of Niles, Heidi Johnson of Apache Junction, Ariz.,  Jenny Pendley of Naperville, Ill, Todd Johnson of Niles, Kacey Cole of Niles, Dominic Johnson of Gilbert, Ariz., Courtney Johnson of Gilbert, Ariz.

A memorial service will be held at  Hope Community Church, 2390 Lake St., Niles at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 29, 2010.

The processional is a short drive to Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles, where family and friends will commit her ashes to her final resting place.

A lunch reception will be provided by Hope Community Church after the burial for family and friends to gather and share memories.