Jessie May (Gustafson) Johnson

July 2, 1940 ~ December 8, 2023 (age 83) 83 Years Old

Jessie Johnson Obituary

Jessie May (Gustafson) Johnson, 83, of Worden, Illinois, peacefully passed away at 3:30 AM on Friday, December 8, 2023 at Alhambra Rehab & Health Care Center in Alhambra, Illinois.  She was born July 2, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of the late Arthur Leslie & Mary Matilda (Longwood) Gustafson.  She married Clayton Palmer Johnson on August 29, 1959 at St. Stephen's Church in Chicago, Illinois & the two shared a loving marriage for 64 years.

Jessie was a patient & gentle soul who preferred spending time with children & animals possibly more than adults.  A natural educator, she saw teaching as her true passion, & spent many years as a Special Education teacher, working with high schoolers & the hearing impaired.  She carried this love of teaching into her roles as a mother, grandmother, & great grandmother, passing on her ASL skills to the children in her family.  She was also a devout Christian & a member of Net Community Church of Staunton.  Whether teaching VBS & Sunday School or doing her daily devotions, she dedicated every moment to Christ.

Jessie lived a healthy & active lifestyle (her penchant for organic food was overshadowed only by her undeniable sweet tooth).  She was an avid swimmer her entire life, swimming 200 laps almost daily for decades & remaining a regular at her local Y into her 80's.  In her youth, she spent her summers riding horses bareback on the family cattle ranch in South Dakota.  Whether sitting on her porch or taking the dogs for a walk, she always felt the most at peace when spending time in nature.  She was also an animal lover, and was lovingly referred to by family as "the crazy dog lady".  Any stray cat or dog that showed up in her yard or on her front porch would soon become a beloved pet.  With a kindheartedness rivalled by few, Jessie's caring nature was felt by every person or critter that crossed her path.

She is survived by three sons -  Steve (Debbie) Johnson of Staunton, IL,  Clayton Johnson of Batavia, IL, &  Kenneth Johnson of Ellsworth, IL;  one daughter -  Beth (TJ) Helmerich of North Hollywood, CA;  ten grandchildren -  Bram, Rory, James, Melissa, Zachary, Colin, Grace, Eric, Hannah, & Maxwell;  seven great grandchildren -  Margot, Molly, Matilda, Millie, Lucas, Mabel, & Mina;  one sister -  Alice McGee of Brownsville, TX; &  one brother -  Don Gustafson of Tomahawk, WI;  several nieces & nephews also survive.  Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband -  Clay; & two daughters-in-law -  Debra Johnson & Jodi Borger-Johnson.

A joint memorial service for Jessie & Clay (who passed away September 7th of this year) will be held in the coming year.  Details will be provided at a later time.  Memorials are suggested to either Net Community Church of Staunton or to the Special Olympics.

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