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BIOGRAPHY

Johnson was born as Opal Houg in Ringsted, Emmet County, Iowa, USA, on 21 December 1909. She was the eldest of seven children born to parents Marius and Minna Houg, both of Norwegian descent. The family moved to Pine River, Minnesota when she was six years old.

Johnson graduated as valedictorian from Pine River High School and continued with one year of Normal Training (for teaching) in Pine River. After earning her lifetime teaching certificate at the age of 18, she started working at a one-room Whitefish school east of Pine River from 1928-30. She continued working as a teacher for over a decade before resigning from teaching to marry Arvid Johnson in 1942. The couple had two children (Alan and Judy). Her husband started the Johnson Bros. Lumber Company in Pine River with his brother.

Her husband passed away in 1993. Following his death, she lived on her own until moving into a nursing home in 2010. In February 2017, she was visited by Irene Olson, her former student, now aged 96. In the years prior to the visit, Johnson suffered from dementia which resulted in memory loss.

Johnson passed away in Pine River, Minnesota, USA, on 5 November 2020, at the age of 110 years, 320 days. Coincidentally, her death occurred one day after Irene Olson passed away aged 100. Johnson was survived by her son, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

RECOGNITION

Her age was validated by LongeviQuest on 13 April 2023.

ATTRIBUTION

* “One-room schoolhouse student, teacher reunite – One is 96, the other 107” – Pine and Lakes Echo Journal, 23 March 2017

* “Johnson turns 110, is Good Samaritan system’s oldest resident” – Pine and Lakes Echo Journal, 26 December 2019

* “Opal Johnson Obituary” – Kline Funeral Home

GALLERY

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