SET FOR FRIDAY – Dancers, from left, Alli Christner, Allison Winger, Delaney Jayne McAdams, Grace Gjertsen, Zia Allen, Tayler Clifton, Fiona Ferguson, Autumn Dinsmore and Audrey Saiz take the stage in full costume at the Performing Arts Center Tuesday. The dancers will present a Sitka-themed version of the popular ballet "The Nutcracker." The show opens 7 p.m. Friday at the PAC. (Sentinel Photo)

Ruth A. Johnson Dies In Arizona at Age 82

Ruth A. Johnson

Former Sitkan Ruth Adeline (Wahler) Johnson passed away in Sun City, Arizona, on September 5, 2019, from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
She had valiantly fought the disease which took many things away from her, including her voice and special laugh.
She was born June 15, 1937, on a farm in Barney Township, North Dakota, where she learned the importance of hard work and doing the job right. Ruth (Ruthie to her North Dakota family) was working as a waitress when she met her future husband, John Floyd Johnson, and started the adventure. After marrying on November 9, 1955, they made their first home in North Dakota, then on to Montana, Oregon, Idaho, and, lastly, following the call to Alaska. In 1966 they moved to Sitka, with their three young daughters, where Floyd took an electrician job at Alaska Lumber and Pulp Company.
Ruth was first a homemaker and mother and later decided to venture outside the home and work for the school district as a cook and administrative secretary, and then with the Sitka Visitors Bureau. She enjoyed all of the work and developed many close, lifelong friendships.
She was an active member of Sitka Lutheran Church, where she was designated by Pastor Jim Drury as the “minister of joy and laughter.” She volunteered countless hours at the church and White Elephant Shop. If she saw a need, she filled it - helping her family, friends, and neighbors.
Ruth loved her home in Sitka, but in her later years as the Parkinson’s disease began to take hold, she spent time in Sun City, Arizona, which provided better access to meet her medical needs.
She was preceded in death by her husband; parents, Herman and Helen Wahler; stepmother, Ella; and siblings Harold, Elroy, and Marlys, and other family members.
She leaves behind her brother-in-law, Lawrence Heley, of Ledgerwood,  N.D.; sisters-in-law, Delphia Johnson of Flagstaff, Arizona, and Betty Johnson of Minnesota; daughters, Barbara (Patrick) Ebert of Bainbridge Island, Washington, Ellen (John) Dumond of Manhatten Beach, Calif,, and Gail (Ty) Rogers of Poulsbo, Washington; grandchildren Kelly (Jon) Snow, and Josh, Nate and Andy Becker; and great-grandchildren Aiden, Sam, and Chloe Snow.
In addition, she is survived by several nieces and nephews, related family, and close friends around the country.
She was a trusting and caring person who met life’s challenges head-on and always loved a good laugh. Ruth loved traveling, being with family, and visiting with friends over a home-cooked meal.
“Her vibrant, fun-loving, joyous, and generous nature will be missed by all who knew her,” her family wrote. “She remained a mischievous prankster in spirit - almost to the end. Her spirit has now been released from the body that was failing her and she will live on in our hearts and memories and be forever missed.”
A memorial service will be performed at the Sitka Lutheran Church in October on a date yet to be determined. Her ashes will be laid to rest at the Sitka National Cemetery with her husband of 43 years.

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