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Gertrude Eva Muckala Johnson

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Gertrude Eva Muckala Johnson, formerly of rural Blue Grass, MN, died at 95 years of age, on Friday, July 31, 2009 in Wadena, MN.

Gertrude began life on April 21, 1914, in New York Mills, MN, the eldest child of Hugh and Rachel (Koljonen) Muckala. Born at home, she weighed less than two pounds and her parents initially kept her in a shoebox. Her mother's wedding band would slide up Gertrude's arm to the shoulder. Amazingly, she lived without an incubator and specialized medical knowledge.

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Gertrude attended school in New York Mills. In 1933 she earned her high school diploma from New York Mills High School. Looking for adventure she went to Chicago with her sisters and cousins, sharing an apartment, gaining life experience and storing up memories. They returned to Minnesota and Gertrude, along with her sisters Ruth and Lorraine, attended Bemidji State Teacher's College, earning a two year degree in education. She then taught in rural schools in central Minnesota.

In 1946 her family began a new adventure together moving to Oregon and settling in Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River, where they owned and operated what would be called today, an assisted living facility. They purchased a store with a filling station and lunch counter in the small town of Hockingson, WA. Gert also began clerking at the Woolworth's store in Portland, OR.

In the early fifties, a friend from Blue Grass set out for the coast to win her as his bride. Allard Johnson was successful and they married in Washington on February 2, 1952. Allard and Gertrude returned to Minnesota shortly thereafter and began farming. In 1953 they became parents to a son, Thomas. After Allard's parents retired they moved onto the Johnson home farm where Gertrude resided until a few years ago when she moved to Comfort Care Cottage in Wadena.

Gertrude was known to her family as an outstanding cook and fastidious housekeeper. She had beautiful dishes and set a lovely table. Allard and Gert were very social and loved to visit. Gertrude enjoyed playing Scrabble and was also an expert at crossword puzzles.

Gertrude was preceded in death by her husband, Allard, in 1978; her parents; three brothers, James and Robert, who both died in infancy, and Horace "Hank" Muckala of rural Staples; and a sister, Ruth Bush of Castro Valley, CA. She leaves a son, Tom, of Blue Grass; a sister, Lorraine Gimre of Astoria, OR; a sister-in-law, Josephine Muckala of Alexandria, MN; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Arlan and Jeanette Johnson of Alexandria; cousins; and nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, August 4, at Hope Chapel, southeast of Blue Grass. Gertrude will be buried alongside her husband, Allard, in the Wadena Cemetery.

Gert's family would like to thank and bless the many people who have upheld her in the past few years, including the people of Comfort Care Cottage, Fair Oaks, and the doctors and nurses of Tri-County Hospital as well as her neighbors, friends, and relatives.

Arrangements are with the Johnson Memorial Home in Wadena (www.johnsonmemorialhome.com).

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