Mary Johnson

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

CAIRO, Ill. -- Mary Betty Kleb Johnson was born in Cairo May 22, 1918. She was baptized in the Church of the Redeemer -- the Episcopal Church -- where she was raised and then married.

She died at Daystar Care Center in Cairo the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 11, 2006.

Mrs. Johnson was educated in the Cairo School system and then went on to further her education at Wells College, Aurora, N.Y. Upon graduation she went to Kathryn Gibbs Secretarial School in New York City, where she graduated in 1939.

She returned to Cairo where she married Major James S. Johnson Jr., who was in the U.S. Army, at the Episcopal Church Nov. 17, 1936.

After travels to many Army bases in the United States during World War II, she settled in Cairo for the balance of her life and raised two boys, Leo Kleb Johnson and James S. Johnson III.

She followed in her mother's footsteps and owned and operated the L.J. Kleb Insurance Agency 37 years. She also followed her mother as president of Cairo City Cemetery Association eight years.

She was very active in Cairo Junior Woman's Club, Ginko Garden Club, Cairo Historical Association -- serving as second president, Patron's Club, and Immanuel Lutheran Church -- serving many years on the Altar Guild.

She spent many hours, days and weeks looking after her sister, Nell Jane Kleb.

She was preceded in death by her father, Leon John Kleb (1883 to 1936); her mother, Nell Sanderson Kleb (1888 to 1970); her sister, Nell Jane Kleb (1912 to 1983); and her husband, Col. James S. Johnson (1910 to 2000).

The Kleb family immigrated to the United States through New Orleans after leaving Baden, Germany, and Hornberg, Prussia. They moved up the Mississippi River to Cairo, where they became bakers and then moved to the insurance business in 1914 with H.H. Candie.

Betty Johnson is survived by two sons, Leo Kleb Johnson and wife Joyce of Oxford, Miss., and granddaughter Harmony Johnson Sims and husband Jeremy, and a great-granddaughter Kiley; James Sidney Johnson III and wife Diana of New Concord, Ky., granddaughter Tiffany Johnson Knight and husband William, a great-granddaughter, Erica Main, and a great-grandson Hunter of Owensboro, Ky.; a grandson, Aaron O. Johnson and wife Kimberly and great-grandson Zachary of Owensboro.

There is no visitation.

The graveside service will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at Cairo City Cemetery, with Nan Ellis of Immanuel Lutheran Church and the Rev. Gene Tucker of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer officiating.

A reception will follow at Magnolia Manor.

Barkett Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be given to Magnolia Manor, 2700 Washington Ave., Cairo, Ill., 62914, or Cairo City Cemetery Association, c/o George Helman, 326 Helman Lane, Villa Ridge, Ill., 62996.