Shirley Ann Johnson (Browning) June 22, 1921, to June 21, 2022
Shirley was born on June 22, 1921 in Frazeysburg, Ohio, the daughter of Bryce and Edith Cummins-Browning. Her father founded and led the Muskingum Water Conservancy District and developed its successful flood control system. This impacted her youth by having her father entertaining government and Army Corps of Engineers officials through the 1930’s and 1940’s. The family moved to New Philadelphia when she was a teenager and she graduated New Philadelphia High School. She attended Muskingum College for two years after high school and, later, earned her bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Kent State University at age 51.
Shirley married Dale L. Johnson on July 31, 1945, and moved onto the Johnson family farm outside of Dover where she embraced the farmer’s life, a big change from the life of her youth. She raised their four children on the farm and after the children were on their own, finished college, and taught kindergarten for 14 years at Park and South Elementary Schools, retiring at age 65. She and Dale enjoyed years of travel, visiting all 50 states, many of which were on the way to her children’s homes.
Shirley was an active member of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Dover, where she taught Sunday school, held Bible study in her home, and was founder and coordinator of the church’s grief support group. She survived cancer twice, which motivated her to serve on the local American Cancer Society board and coordinate their Reach to Recovery program for several decades. Shirley was an active member of College Club, Delta Kappa Gamma, Brandywine Grange, Retired Teachers Association, and Fortnightly Music Club, where she was acclaimed for her engaging Christmas story presentations.
Shirley was known for entertaining family and friends on the farm, with picnics, fabulous dinners, ice skating and sledding. Everyone enjoyed her celebrated cinnamon rolls and fresh-baked cookies. For decades she handcrafted Christmas dinner decorations, which became beloved tree ornaments for her guests.
She dearly loved her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and enjoyed every minute spent with them. The grandchildren relished going to “gramma’s” house to look for cookies in the freezer. At least one grandchild grew up on frozen cookies and did not enjoy room temperature cookies.
Shirley is survived by her children, Lynn (John) Foust of Dover, Dan (Star Waring) Johnson of Boulder, Colorado, and Joy (George) White of Hastings, Nebraska; her nine grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren. Shirley was preceeded in death by her parents, her husband Dale, and her youngest daughter Debra Kay (Dave) Lieser of Wiscasset, Maine, as well as her siblings Charlotte Thwaite, and Richard and Bryce Browning.
When Shirley celebrated her 100th birthday in 2021 she received over 160 birthday cards from many of the people whose lives were touched by her. She had a profound impact on many people and will be deeply mixed.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, July 9th starting at 11:00 am in the Grace Lutheran Church at Dover with Rev. Bonnie Grimaldi, Rev. Adam White and Rev. Raleigh White officiating. Interment will be in the Brandywine Cemetery, Dover. The family will be greeting friends one hour prior to the service on Saturday. Those wishing to express their fondest memories of Shirley may do so by visiting the online obituaries link on the funeral home’s website.
The family would like to thank the staff at Park Village for their wonderful and compassionate care shown towards Shirley.
Memorial contributions may be made to Grace Lutheran Church at 216 North Wooster Ave., Dover, Ohio 44622 or to Community Hospice at 716 Commercial Ave., SW, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663.