Johnson Rita M., age 72, of Shoreview, passed peacefully Thurs, 5/16, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Born 1/17/30 in Omaha, NE, Rita completed Nurses Training in 1951.She married and had six children in the period 1952-1958. However, as a divorced single mother of six in the mid-1960s, life was less than easy. Yet she always provided abundant love, support and guiding values for her children. In one period, she even balanced a fulltime job, childrearing AND pursuit of a Baccalaureate Nursing degree at the University of Minnesota. In those formative years, her children learned patience, coping and achievement through perseverance by merely watching Rita go. She worked in nursing over 35 years, including 18 in Psychiatric Nursing at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul. Dedicated to her field, she received the 1995 St. Joseph Hospital's Nursing Clinical Excellence Award. She completed her Master's Degree in Psychology at age 63, also passing State Board examinations. She retired in 1996, working part-time in therapy and nursing until 1998. Rita was a lifelong `giver`, working tirelessly to meet the needs of many - be it child, grandchild, friend, neighbor, or patient. A lover of pets of all kinds, she was often found with ever-faithful companions, Sophie and Willy. She adored nature. Minnesota's North Shore and bird watching were particular favorites. She is survived and will be missed by children, Paul, Kathy, Laurie, Peter, Morris and Judy; grandchildren, Andrew, Emily, Stephanie, Sam Paul, Sam Elliot, Stephen, Rachel, Bart, Elliot, Eddie, Hannah and Casey; sister, Ruth; brother Ken; daughters-in-law, Roseanne, Wendy and Carol; son-in-law, Bill; and many wonderful friends. Memorial Service MONDAY, 3 PM, at ST. CHRISTOPHER'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 2300 North Hamline Ave at Hwy 36, ROSEVILLE. In lieu of flowers, memorials to The Pillars (of Oakdale) hospice care or St. Christopher's parish.

Published on May 18, 2002

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