Date of Birth
Date of Death
Elaine McNair Johansen, age 87, of DeKalb, formerly of Elburn, passed away peacefully at home, into the arms of her Savior, Friday, July 27, 2018.
She was born August 26, 1930, on the family farm in Elburn, to proud parents, Cecil and Helen (McNair) Gum.
Elaine loved the legacy of the family farm that started in 1835. She equally enjoyed working alongside her dad, planting, harvesting and tending to the livestock. When wasnâ€™t busy with chores, she attended a one room school house until 8th grade. Elaine whizzed through her high school years and graduated at the age of 16 from Elburn High School but not before making a name for herself as the editor of the school newspaper, a cheerleader and athlete.
Elaine met the love of her life in Dr. John Johansen. Their two hearts became one on December 27, 1949. They began their new life together in Elburn until 1975, when they moved to DeKalb, IL. They shared a special love until his passing on May 18, 1996.
Elaine not only graduated early, but started her working career early as well. She began her career at the Geneva Court House doing tax reviews. Elaine became a secretary to the C.E.O. of large company and later the bookkeeper for a smaller company, but her biggest job was that of wife, mother and homemaker.
Elaine was a member of many clubs and organizations over the years. They included numerous bridge clubs and Library Whist, the Elburn and DeKalb Womenâ€™s clubs as well as the Kishwaukee Country Club, both for 50 years, the University Womenâ€™s Club, Drama Club, Quivera Club, The American Legion Auxiliary, Post 630 and was a life member of the Kishwaukee Hospital Auxiliary. This exhaustive list doesnâ€™t even include all the volunteer work she did for her community.
Elaine was vibrant and had a loving and generous heart but you couldnâ€™t miss her wide streak of independence. She was a devoted friend, keeping in touch through numerous handwritten letters and phone calls. Social and family gatherings were always full of love and laughter. Her heart and home were forever open to family and friends, especially when it came to her annual Thanksgiving celebration and Kentucky Derby Party. For fifty years, Elaine would break out the fine china, specialty glasses including ones just for her signature Mint Juleps, and set a table worthy of kings. She was also proud of the artwork that she collected over the years. Elaine made memories with every mile through her travels through the U.S. and abroad, but a new world opened to her when she learned to play bridge with a dear friend. The game ignited a passion for Elaine as she established herself, not only as a player to be reckoned with, but also the ultimate score keeper. The Kentucky Derby and the halls of her home will never be the same. Though they will echo with memories from yesteryear, Elaine lives on in the hearts of her friends and family.
She is survived by two daughters: Nancy Johansen and Ellen (Richard) Johnson; a daughter-in-law, Debra Johansen; eight grandchildren: Justin (Leslie) Smith, Allyson (Brian) Bork, Sarah Melody (Aaron) Fonner, Adam (Kelly) Johnson, Nathan Johnson, Louise Heyob, John Jacob (Amy) Johansen and Rachel Johansen; ten great-grandchildren: Poppy, Ainsley, Finley and Cecily Smith, Brynn Bork, Lilly Johnson, Nathan, Noah and Grace Fonner and Ely Johansen; one sister, Cecelia (Norbert) Lund; a brother-in-law, Don Westlake; many nieces, nephews and a countryside of friends.
Elaine is preceded in death by her parents, Cecil and Helen Gum; her husband, John H. Johansen; one son, John Carl “Jack” Johansen; two sisters: Carrie (Grover) Petrie and Helen Westlake as well as two nephews: Kenton and Neal Petrie.
A memorial visitation will be from 12:30-2:30 p.m., Saturday, September 8th, 2018, at the Elburn Community Congregational Church, 100 E. Shannon, St., Elburn. A memorial service will follow visitation with private family burial at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Elaineâ€™s name to benefit the Elburn Community Congregational Church and NW Medicine Hospice (Kishwaukee Hospice). Checks may be made to the “Elaine Johansen Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address, the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at www.conleycare.com.
A memorial service will follow visitation at 2:30 p.m.
A memorial visitation will be from 12:30-2:30 p.m., Saturday, September 8th, 2018, at the Elburn Community Congregational Church, 100 E. Shannon, St., Elburn.
Private family burial at a later date.