The Woodward News

March 19, 2013

Mildred Lorene Grunewald Johnson


Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Mildred Lorene Grunewald Johnson was born Nov 2, 1922 in Midlothian, Oklahoma.  She heard Jesus call her name March 14, 2013.  She was 90 years old.

Mildred was born to Charles Clinton and Blanche Lorene Heckart Grunewald.  She was the oldest daughter following three brothers, Ross, Lee, and Ray.  In all there were 9 children born to Charlie and Blanche.  Early on, Mildred was nicknamed "Sis" and it stuck.  Her siblings and their spouses know her by Sis to this day.  Blanche was often busy with all the little Grunewald's running around.  So 'Sis' was known as the "go to" person to get something done.  Charlie was a preacher, which meant they moved quite often; Mildred made friends wherever they lived.  She was a faithful friend to everyone in those early churches and carried those friendships for the remainder of her life.  Mildred graduated from high school at Mutual High School, class of 1940.  She loved being a part of this small community and attended school reunions whenever possible.  She considered Mutual as her second hometown.

When Mildred was very young, Blanche taught her to play the piano.  Blanche loved to play and she passed that joy on to Mildred.  There were many hours of practice but also many hours of music filling the house.  Mildred played for church services, weddings, funerals, and for any other event when a pianist was needed.  She met Ernest, the love of her life, by being willing to go with his sister, Edith, to a Sunday afternoon sing at Ernest and Edith's parents home south of Vici so she could play for those singings.

Mildred married Ernest Elmer Johnson on Dec 29, 1946.  They were wed in Lee and Lahoma's home in Woodward.  Lee walked her down the aisle where Charlie was very pleased to marry them.  After the honeymoon, they moved to the homestead south of Vici.  Elmer Lee, Shirley Kay, and Pamela Ann blessed their home in quick succession.   Mildred was always very involved in the lives of her children; whether helping to study for a test, driving one of them to play practice, helping with farm chores, such as building fence, counting cattle, or encouraging them to have patience while learning to type, she was there to lovingly support and assist each time.  She was present at basketball games, band concerts, choir events, and class parties.  She played for numerous groups, both singing and instrumental, at the different competitions, Seiling Music Contest, District Contest and Tri-State Music Festival.  It didn't matter whether any of her own children were involved; if Mildred was asked, she willingly played.  She was a strong supporter of the music department at Vici.  Even after her children graduated, she volunteered many hours to the students, both for practice and then performance.  She was a fun loving person so this made her a favorite with all of the friends of her children.  Mildred felt honored to be asked to play for each one of the graduations of Elmer, Shirley, and Pam.  

Mildred was used to living in town but she adapted to the farm life quickly.  Ernest loved to farm and Mildred was always his partner and sounding board.  However, it didn't matter whether Mildred was driving a truck load of wheat to the grain elevator or simply cleaning house, she was always dressed neatly, hair combed, with her lipstick on.  In later years, Ernest kept Mildred's lipstick in his pocket, making sure she had it handy when she needed it.  Mildred and Ernest worked together to build the life that God had given to them.  They had a unique way of being present in each other's lives whether Ernest was in another state following the wheat harvest or just out on the tractor.  They seemed to just know what the other needed.  They were totally devoted to each other.

Mildred and Ernest were steadfast in their faith.  They shared the same goals in life and the same faith.  Ernest loved to sing and Mildred was always ready to accompany him.  They felt honored to be asked to have a part in services; whether revivals, weddings, funerals or just singing on Sunday mornings; to them it was sharing their faith.  Mildred played the songs for the children's department at the Methodist church before Sunday school for many years.  She taught her children the songs, then her grandchildren and eventually her greats.  Each one of them can remember Mommer playing and singing "Jesus Loves Me" or "This Little Light of Mine".  Mildred taught Sunday school and Bible school for years.  Being able to share her love of Jesus was especially important to her.  Mildred and Ernest were involved with the Gideon ministry, Lay Witness Missions, and the Walk to Emmaus Projects.  It was their way of giving back some of what the Lord had blessed them with.

Mildred is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Ernest of 64 yrs.  Her parents, Charles and Blanche Grunewald.  Her brothers Ross, Lee, Ray, and Bill Grunewald.  Two sisters Mary Joyce Grunewald and Betty Hunt.  She is survived by her son, Elmer of Vici, her daughter, Shirley and husband, Larry of Yukon, her daughter, Pam and husband, Jim of Crane, MO.  Her grandchildren, Chad and Angie Schimmels, Chris and Cathy Johnson, Jason and Vandy Schimmels, Jennifer Plato, Ryan Schimmels, Grant and Billie Schimmels, Kati and Charles Lowe, Sean Johnson, and Lori Johnson and 11 great grandchildren.  Her brother, Ken and wife, Shirley Grunewald, one sister, Ruth McKowan, two sisters-in-law, Lahoma Grunewald and Edith Brown, and two brothers-in-law John Hunt and Fred Johnson.  Many nieces, nephews and cousins, plus a host of friends.   

Funeral Services were held Monday, March 18th 2013 at the First United Methodist Church in Vici, OK. Burial followed in Sunnyside Cemetery. Services arranged by Shaw Funeral Home, Vici, Ok.

Condolences may be made to the family and Memorial Tribute viewed at shawfuneralhome.net