Kathleen Kay (Anderson) Johnson passed away peacefully on October 29, 2022.
Kay was born to Arling and Ona Anderson on September 14, 1942 in Lake City, MN and grew up in Luverne, MN. She was a proud and dutiful big sister to her four siblings; Karen, Paul, Donna and Carol. As the daughter of the town's beloved football coach and a saintly woman with a rich alto voice, Kay's gifts as a leader and musician shone brightly from the start. She had a knack for planning and hosting meaningful events that brought people together in fellowship from her early years all the way through her life.
Kay attended St. Olaf College where she majored in music education and sang in the St. Olaf Choir. She was courted by Jim Johnson, a handsome baseball player who couldn't sing a lick but caught her eye when he snuck his Sports Illustrated into religion class. His heart turned to goo every time she was featured as the alto soloist when singing "Beautiful Savior" so it was a match made in heaven.
Jim and Kay married in April 1965 and began their teaching careers while first living in Madelia and then St. James, MN. In 1976, they planted roots in Roseville, MN to raise their three children, Stacy, Siri and Trevor. Kay combined her love of music and her love of children in a long, happy career as a music teacher. She taught in the public school and in her private studio, and also worked as a Church Music Coordinator/Director.
A self-coined "professional part-timer," Kay wore many hats: conductor, teacher, cook, hostess, social coordinator, and special events planner. But her most important job was raising and loving her three children. Kay was undoubtedly the #1 supporter for her children, always in the stands at countless matches, games, concerts and performances. She did all of this while showing up for friends and family in times of need in a way that made all of her people feel seen, heard and loved.
Kay's life symphony got even sweeter when love and marriage added Brian, Tyler and Taelor to the family. She started conducting her magnum opus as "Grandma Kay" to Maia, Hannah, Sam, Noah and Tate. Time at Grandma's included special crafts, sweet homemade treats, heated card games and loads of love. To usher in their grandparent years, Jim and Kay purchased a cabin on Island Lake in northern Minnesota which now holds an abundance of core memories for their beloved grandchildren. Grandma's hospitality skills were on full display at the cabin and her love was felt as we woke to the smell of muffins and egg bakes and watched the sun set over appetizers and margaritas on the pontoon.
In retirement, Kay continued to volunteer with the Kinder Koncert Program at Orchestra Hall, sing in the church choir and give piano lessons to her grandchildren. Kay helped to found the Befrienders Program at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Roseville, a ministry that connects church members when extra support is needed in their life journey. Kay was active on boards and committees in the American Parkinson's Disease Association and also worked on fundraising events for the National Parkinson's Foundation and the Capistrant Center. She was honored by the MN State Council on Disability for her work in developing the Good Start Program for APDA.
A diagnosis of Parkinson's disease in May of 2002 only fueled Kay's determination to love and serve her family and friends without limit. As a caregiver to her own mother who battled Parkinson's disease, Kay knew all too well the challenges that lie ahead. Despite this fact, she continued to pursue opportunities to travel and connect with her friends and family. Even at the very end of her life, Kay displayed tremendous strength as she drew her family close for a special time of togetherness. She died peacefully in her home surrounded by her husband and three children, just as she had wanted.
Kay is preceeded in death by an infant son at birth, her parents Arling and Ona Anderson; sister Donna Asleson; brother Paul Anderson and brother-in-law Steve Ellerbusch.
She will be greatly missed by her husband of 57 years, James Johnson; children, Stacy (Brian) Tri of Woodbury, Siri (Tyler) Peterson of Roseville, Trevor (Taelor) Johnson of Little Canada; grandchildren, Maia, Hannah, Sam, Noah, and Tate; sisters, Karen (Mark) Aamot, and Carol Ellerbusch; brother-in-law Dave Asleson, dear cousins, beloved nieces and nephews, adored friends, and the countless adults and children with whom she shared the gift of music.
A funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 2561 Victoria St. N, Roseville, with visitations from 4 PM to 7 PM on Friday, November 18, 2022 at Mueller Memorial, 4738 Bald Eagle Ave, White Bear Lake, as well as an hour prior to the funeral at the church on Saturday. Private family interment at Prince of Peace Columbarium. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the MN Chapter APDA or to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.