Cover photo for Helen Shirley Johnson's Obituary
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Helen Shirley Johnson

July 29, 1925 — August 29, 2023

Madison

Helen Shirley Johnson

Helen Shirley Johnson, age 98, of Madison, died peacefully on Tuesday, August 29th, 2023 at Our House Memory Care in Wisconsin Dells.  Helen, daughter of Edward and Alice (McCann) Bach, loudly announced her entrance into this world on July 29th, 1925.  It was her brother Edward's 12th birthday.  He asked for his gift to be a trumpet. His mother told him, "I brought you home the whole brass band!"

Growing up during the Depression, her family moved 11 times.  Always renting around the Monroe St. area.  They took in boarders to "make ends meet."  One gentleman told Helen that he would pay her a nickel if she could be quiet for 10 minutes.  Her pocket remained empty!

All that moving and talking meant that wherever Helen went in Madison, she knew someone.  It was a standing family joke. Throughout her life, she truly enjoyed meeting new people.

Helen married the love of her life on August 23rd, 1947. Helen, wearing a heavy satin gown and her groom Frank dressed in a wool suit, exchanged vows on the hottest day of the year.  It was 98 degrees outside of the then unairconditioned Blessed Sacrament Church.  To top it off her veil caught on fire at the reception!  Perhaps it was a sign that with love and laughter, they could face whatever trials life was to throw at them during their 37 years of marriage.

Helen and Frank raised 6 children on Madison's Lower Eastside.  During those years she worked at various part time secretarial and retail positions.  She never really got the knack of cooking, but she could bake a mean cookie!  Along with baking, she enjoyed playing cards, bowling, cuddling babies and just plain ol' socializing with friends.  Helen drifted through life with a wicked sense of humor.  Yet she was always willing to try new things.  She learned to drive at age 57, mastered computer solitaire at age 75, and hiked Carlsbad Caverns by lamplight at age 86.  She lived her life the best she knew how.

She is survived by her children; Mary (Tom) Gilmore, Jeanne (Jim) Martinelli, Charles (Janet) Johnson, Tom Johnson, and Ann (John) Schinderle; grandchildren, Carolyn (Rick) Moncada, JoAnn Schinderle, Rebecca (Estevan) Gonzales, Diana (Benjamin) Raupp, Brent (Alexandra) Johnson, Troy Johnson, Ethan and Myles Wendland-Johnson; five great grandson with the sixth on his way!

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Frank; son James; brothers Edward and Charles; sister Margaret; niece, Margo; and infant twin daughters.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, September 5th, 2023 at 11:00 a.m., at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church with Father Jay Poster officiating.  Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service.  Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery in Madison.

Informed Choice Funeral & Alternatives

3325 E. Washington Ave.

Madison, WI 53704

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Past Services

Visitation

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Our Lady Queen of Peace

401 S Owen Dr, Madison, WI 53711

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Funeral Service

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Our Lady Queen of Peace

401 S Owen Dr, Madison, WI 53711

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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