Carol Benn Johnson, 89, of Evansville, passed away Thursday, Jan. 28, at Ascension St. Vincent hospital. Carol was born in Ord, NE, on January 14, 1932, to the late Henry and Julia Benn. She enjoyed growing up on a farm and was the youngest of five children.
Carol earned a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Nebraska. At a Christian organization on campus, she met a very good man — Kenneth Eugene Johnson. They married and Carol worked as a nurse, supporting her husband as he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. Ken later enjoyed a 26-year career with Caterpillar Tractor Company. Together they were blessed with three children and eight, precious grandchildren.
While raising her children, Carol volunteered as a den mother, a Sunday school teacher and led by example in reaching out to those in need. Her children grew up on the church pews in Washington, IL. Later in life, Ken and Carol lived in Peoria, IL, for more than 30 years, and enjoyed restoring a 1892 Victorian home on Moss Ave., nicknamed “Riverboat House.”
After her kids were raised, Carol pursued her love of the English language, immersing herself in the coursework necessary to earn a Master’s in English at Illinois State University. Her schooling was interrupted to care for her husband as he endured Lou Gehrig’s disease for the next 10 years.
Throughout her life and into her 80’s, Carol often could be found in her yard tending to her rose bushes and many other beds of flowers. She began writing poetry in college and continued to be a proficient writer for decades. She was a knowledgeable collector of antiques, a well-read conversationalist, an earnest prayer warrior for her family, and a lover of all things chocolate.
Carol is survived by her son, Thane Johnson, of Lake Villa, IL; her daughter, Leslie Pape Summers, of Newburgh, IN; her daughter-in-law’s, Nina Johnson and Julie Johnson; and her son-in-law, Mark Summers.
In addition to her four siblings, Carol was preceded in death by her husband, Ken Johnson; her son, Kenric Johnson; and her son-in-law, Tony Pape.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, who offers families valuable resources such as a 24-hour helpline with master’s level clinicians, on-line support groups and forums. Just go to alz.org and click “donate,” if you have interest in supporting this cause.
A graveside service will be held at a later date in Peoria, IL, where she will be buried beside her beloved husband.
Simple Cremation Evansville is entrusted with care.
Laura Herbster says
So sorry Leslie and family. Your Mom was truly a remarkable woman! I didn’t realize she had so many talents. I wish I could have known her longer. You all are in my thoughts and prayers!
Susan Graim says
Carol meant so much to my mother, Norma B. Graim. I remember these two Benn sisters chatting up a storm on family visits. I will forever cherish watching their joy in being with one another. They shared history, as Nebraska farm gals, and interests as well. Nothing beat an estate sale find. May they be forever treasure hunting together in the great beyond.
Rick Benn says
Sorry to hear of her passing.
Cousin Rick Benn
Barbara Shafer Moss says
Thank you for sharing your mother’s obituary. Our class would have celebrated our 65 th reunion/celebration in October 2020 at UNMC had COVID not come along. Those years of living, studying and working together formed lifelong bonds.
I remember your mother as quiet, unassuming, a dedicated nurse with a good sense of humor.
Her life and accomplishments are impressive and I’m sure you will miss her very much but will have wonderful memories to treasure.
Barbara Shafer Moss. class of1955 UNMC Nursing
R. Howard Courtney says
I met both Carol and Ken when I was living on Moss Avenue and also restoring a house. We were friends before Ken’s illness and after his death. When Carol moved to Indiana we kept in touch via email for sometime and then all of a sudden I no longer heard from her and I got no responses to my emails. I had assumed at the time that she probably had passed away. It wasn’t until today’s date, May 2, 2021, when a friend found her obituary for me that I learned that she had in fact passed away.
Carol was an interesting person and I certainly enjoyed meeting her and one of her sisters. I have thought of her often over the last few years.
Leslie Pape Summers says
Hi, Howard, I just saw this message and I hope my message makes it to you. Mom always enjoyed your friendship and she enjoyed staying in touch with you via e-mail after I moved her near me (in Indiana). When mom broke her hip, that was the life changing event that caused her no longer to be able to manage her beloved victorian home on Moss Avenue. Shorter after she settled in Indiana, mom broke her other hip and later she broke her pelvis. Being the strong Nebraska women that she was, the injuries never kept her down, and she always endured rehab and got back up on her feet (with the aid of her walker)……. Later in life, as dementia reared it’s ugly head, mom was no longer able to use her tablet and she could no longer send you e-mails. I tried to find your e-mail address to notify you that she couldn’t manage social media a couple of years before she died, but I was unable to track it down. I really wish I could have figured out how to contact you. You were always a dear friend to my mother.