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Karen Johnson

Iowa City

Karen Johnson of Keller, Texas, passed away in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 1, 2020, following a brief illness. She was 79 years old.
Karen was born in Renwick, Iowa, on April 2, 1940, to William and Lena (Davids) Tincher. She was raised on a farm along with her younger brothers, Norm and Larry. She graduated from Boone Valley High School in 1958. She attended Eagle Grove Junior College. After graduation, she moved to Sioux City, Iowa, to work as a secretary. It was there where she met her husband, Dean Johnson, of Lake View, Iowa. They wed in Renwick on July 30, 1961.
Soon thereafter, the couple moved to Iowa City to begin their married life and start a family. They were blessed with three children, Julie, Jeff and Tricia. Karen stayed home with the children and also baby-sat neighborhood children. Once her own children started school, she began her long career with Iowa City Community School District. She worked as a secretary, registrar and, briefly, as a study hall monitor. She enjoyed spending time with the young students (except during study hall) and served at Horn Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Southeast Junior High and City High School. Karen retired from the school district in 2003 and began her work as a volunteer at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, assisting patients and staff members in the on-site hair salon. In 2011, she was honored to receive the 2011 Governor's Volunteer Award from Gov. Terry Branstad.
Although Karen spent her final years in Texas near her daughter, she never forgot her life and special friendships in Iowa City. She fondly remembered her evenings "playing bridge" in multiple groups (although anyone that knew her knew it was much more about the social aspect than the competitive card game). She loved fall because that meant tailgate parties for her beloved Iowa Hawkeyes. We all knew that was much more about spending time with friends than anything that actually happened on the football field. She and Dean enjoyed attending many local high school and Hawkeye sporting events. They were very active at church and served on multiple committees in their many years as members of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Iowa City.
Karen loved music. She played the flute in high school and was even named Band Queen in 1958. She was a long-time member of the church choir and continued to enjoy Gospel music throughout her life. Even in her later years, she could still play a rousing rendition of "Oh, Susannah!" on the piano.
Karen never met a stranger and loved to talk ... and talk ... and talk. Everyone who knew her appreciated her beautiful smile and loud, boisterous laugh.
She is survived by her children, Julie (Chuck) Dorn of Trophy Club, Texas, Jeff (Amy) Johnson of Ladera Ranch, Calif., and Tricia (Bill) Petrow of West Dundee, Ill.; her six grandchildren, Megan and Kelly Dorn, Ava and Jenna Johnson and Will and Thomas Petrow; her brothers, Norm (Sylvia) and Larry (Jan); many nieces and nephews; and her beloved dog, Gracie.
Her parents and her husband, Dean, preceded her in death.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2301 Court St., Iowa City. Private burial will be in Memory Gardens Cemetery in Iowa City. The family will receive visitors at Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service, 605 Kirkwood Ave., Iowa City, from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church or Johnson County Humane Society.
Condolences: www.lensingfuneral.com.
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