Claribelle ‘Clara’ Joy Johnson, 89, passed away at her family home in Rochester, Wash., Sunday, January 1, 2023.
Clara was born at home January 8, 1933, in Grand Mound, Wash., to Albert and Stella (Gehrman) Munsell. She attended the old Grand Mound Grade School and graduated from Rochester High School in 1951. She met her sweetheart, Stanley L. Johnson, at Swede Hall in 1952 and the couple married not long afterward on December 24, 1952. They enjoyed nearly 66 years of marriage before his death in 2018.
Clara was raised on a farm and loved living the farm life. She worked parttime at Centralia’s Mode O’Day shop in downtown, and in 1978 purchased that location. In 1982, the store was renamed ‘Fashion Crossroads.’ She loved her customers and owned and operated her store until 1994, maintaining a happy spirit within its walls.
Clara was very active in the Grand Mound- Rochester Citizen’s Group, and was emcee for Swede Day Coronation from 1990 to 2005. Clara was the group’s treasurer from 2001 to 2006 as well as a volunteer at Sunday afternoon dances at Swede Hall.
She retired to the family farm and spent her time enjoying music and hosting neighborhood gatherings and family get-togethers. She enjoyed singing, entertaining, flowers, and being a grandma of three, great-grandma of four, and great-great-grandma of four.
Clara’s life was filled with love from her husband, family, friends and neighbors and it was returned three-fold. She was the center of our family!
She was preceded in death by her husband, Stanley; her parents Albert and Stella; and siblings, Naomi Tapio, Lora Reinhardt, Albert Munsell, Jr., and Stephen Munsell.
She is lovingly remembered by her daughter, Judy (Tom) Smiley and son, Bill E. Johnson, both of Rochester; son, Rick (Dennis G) Johnson of Olympia; grandchildren, Kasandra Wilson of Rochester, Konni (Lee) Miller of Oroville, and Kricket (Patrick G) Smiley of Puyallup; great- grandchildren, Jackson Wilson of Rochester, Bo Miller of Oroville, Kiley (Chris) Connell of Olympia, and Kristian Smiley of Puyallup; four great-great-grandchildren; and brother, Pete Munsell.
Clara was strong, graduating from hospice twice. We would like to thank you, wonderful caregivers, as well as your excellent care team! Terry Wilson; his nurse, Vickie; Laurie McGee; Assured Hospice; Karen Rollman; and Assured Home Health, who helped her stay at home. We would also like to thank nephew, Gary Tapio; Carol Gehrman; Carol Szydtowski; Carol Burleson; Inie Munsell; and Gail Nelson for all of your support!
A celebration of Clara’s life will be held from 12:00 to 3:30 PM Saturday, January 21, at Swede Hall in Rochester. Her motto was ENJOY LIFE!