Mrs. Kay F. Johnson, 85, passed away on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2022, at her home, surrounded by her loving family.
Kay was born on Feb. 14, 1937, in LaHarpe, Illinois, to Solomon Harold and Oma (Morgan) Brodie. She married Roland D. “Johnny” Johnson on April 20, 1959, in Galesburg. He preceded her in death.
Left to cherish her memory are her three daughters, Jo Lynn (Bobby) Clay and Lisa (Robbie) Selfridge, both of Galesburg, and Kristin (Detlef) Petersen of Lyn Ontario Canada; her two sons, Steve (the late Billie) Johnson-Munson of Evans, Georgia, and Brad (Kerri) Johnson of Peoria, Illinois; one brother, John “Billy” (Mary) Brodie of Victoria, Illinois; two sisters, Carol (the late Bob) Waight and Joyce (Virgil) Frye, both of Galesburg; 10 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and one beloved sister-in-law, Donna Barrick.
As a child, Kay lived in several small towns throughout western Illinois, and a favorite memory was attending a one-room schoolhouse. Kay loved the rural life, growing up near her grandparents and cousins near Burnside, Illinois. As a young girl, she enjoyed riding her horse, Midge, and participating in rodeos. She attended high schools in Rock Island and then Galesburg, Illinois, graduating from Galesburg High School in 1955.
After graduation, Kay held a variety of jobs before becoming co-owner of Brodie Meat Products, a family business started by her father and carried on by her husband and siblings. But the best job she ever had was as a homemaker, creating a wonderful home life for her husband and children.
As a young mother, she spent many hours in gymnasiums, at swimming pools and baseball fields in support of her children and their activities, driving them and their friends around town from one event to the next. When the grandchildren came along, she shared the same enthusiasm — attending school and sporting events, piling blankets in the family room for cousin sleepovers, and traveling the Midwest in search of the most-wanted Christmas gift. She was an amazing baker and made the world’s best pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations were legendary, as her children and grandchildren filled the house and made memories that will last a lifetime.
She also enjoyed attending Galesburg Silver Streaks basketball games, followed by Friday night dinners with Johnny and their friends, and spending time with her sisters shopping or participating in Bible studies together. Kay loved flowers, traveling around Central Illinois with her daughters in search of the perfect specimens for her lovingly tended gardens. Her favorite spot in the house was her kitchen table, where she and her visitors could look out the window at her beautiful flowers, and watch the birds feast on the feeders she always kept filled for them.
Throughout her life, Kay was blessed by wonderful neighbors and lived one of her favorite Scripture verses every day: Love they neighbor as thyself. She was always there for them, and in turn they were there for her — showing her amazing kindness, especially during Johnny’s illness and after his death.
Small in stature and timid by nature, Kay was a force to be reckoned with when it came to two things: her faith and her family. A devout Christian, she was a member of First Baptist Church of Galesburg and spent time every day reading devotionals and studying Scripture. She lived her faith, and she was proud to share it — telling visitors until the end that Jesus was her Lord and Savior and that she was ready to spend eternity in heaven with Him.
What she loved most of all in this life, though, were her husband and the wonderful family they built together. Their love story was one for the ages. By example, they taught their children and grandchildren what it means to be husband and wife. For 62 years, they cared for each other and shared in the joys life brought them. They held hands. They danced. And they always put their family first. To be loved by Kay was to be protected, prayed for and supported. Home and family were the center of her universe — and in turn, she was the center of theirs.
Kay was never happier than when she had her children and grandchildren around her. And that is how she passed: Surrounded by her family, and peacefully leaving this life to reunite with the man she loved and missed.
Funeral service will be at noon on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, at Hinchliff-Pearson-West Funeral Directors and Cremation Services Galesburg Chapel, with the Rev. Daniel Siems and Pastor Eric Vogel co-officiating. Visitation will be from 11:00 a.m. to noon Friday at the chapel. For those unable to attend the service, it will be live-streamed on the funeral home’s Facebook page beginning at noon. https://www.facebook.com/Hinchliff-Pearson-West-Funeral-Directors-and-Cremation-Services-160333664037824/. Burial will be in Oak Lawn Memorial Gardens. Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, Beacon of Hope Hospice, the Galesburg Rescue Mission and Women’s Shelter, or to a charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be made at www.h-p-w.com.