Eilene Genevieve (Evenson) Johnson passed away peacefully at her home with loving family by her side on Sunday, August 7, at the age of 96. After a lifetime of good health, she left this world as she had lived, enjoying final visits with beloved family and friends.
More than anything else, Eilene loved her family. She cherished their visits and phone calls, stayed current on their activities, never forgot a birthday, and covered her house with their pictures, including one wall that boasted nearly 200 5x7’s that told the stories of their accomplishments and precious times together. She was a special aunt and great-aunt to dozens of nieces and nephews, and they included her in their lives until the very end.
Eilene was a devoted, life-long member of Grace Lutheran Church in Waseca. She and her husband raised their daughters at Grace, and over the years she taught Sunday School, participated in Ladies Aid and helped with Christmas programs. In the last two years when she was unable to attend in person, she and grandson Jason never missed watching it on TV every Sunday morning.
Eilene spent her entire career teaching in the Waseca School District, beginning in a one-room country school, followed by kindergarten at South Side Elementary, and primarily as a first-grade teacher at both South Side and Hartley Elementary. She found magic in the moment her young students first realized they could read, understanding that the door to lifelong learning had just been opened. She loved her students, and they loved her. She was living proof that teachers are among the best people, touching the hearts and minds of over a thousand students.
Eilene was proud of her Norwegian heritage. Her parents spoke Norwegian at home, especially when discussing things their seven children didn’t need to hear, and was baptized and confirmed in Norwegian at the LeSueur River Lutheran Church outside of New Richland. To the end, she conversed in Norwegian with her brothers and sisters, and took pride in teaching those who cared for her simple Norwegian commands.
Widowed at the age of 54, Eilene continued to live life to the fullest. She taught 10 more years, traveled abroad with family and dear teacher friends, maintained her beautiful home and garden, and found time for family, as well as, numerous friends and neighbors.
In her final days, Eilene often said she wanted to go home, where she was lovingly embraced by her husband, Maynard, daughter Ruth Ann Hager, her parents, Arthur and Alice Evenson, brothers Roger and Ellsworth and countless other family members and friends. Sister Joanne promised her a Norwegian family reunion in heaven someday, which brought a smile to her face.
Eilene is survived by her daughter, Sandra Connolly (Patrick), grandchildren Jason Hager (Tahlia Anderson), Courtney O’Brien (Andy), Cameron Hager (Jen Woyda), Quinn Buum (James) and Evan Connolly (Rachel Moulds), and great-grandchildren Griffen Hager, Alix and Joe O’Brien, Arlo and Iris Woyda Hager, Charlotte and Maeve Buum and Greyson Connolly; brothers Winston and Charles Evenson, sisters Joanne Cherrington and Kathryn Parriott, and their families.
Eilene’s family would like to thank the dedicated staff of Mayo Clinic Health System Hospice, and personal caregivers, for the loving care they provided. She was able to comfortably remain in her home and able to say good-bye to loved ones until the very end.
Eilene will be remembered for her warm smile, quick wit, determination in all things, and her love of life, family and friends. She will be dearly missed.
Memorial Service will be 11:00 AM on Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at Grace Lutheran Church in Waseca. Interment will be in Woodville Cemetery. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service at the church on Wednesday.
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)