Doretta Johnson

Doretta Irene Johnson

August 12, 1923 to December 27, 2014
Doretta Irene Johnson passed away at home, surrounded by the love of her family, on Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014. She was 91.
Doretta Irene Olson was born Aug. 12, 1923, in McGregor, North Dakota, the eldest child of Reuben and Evva Olson.
She was raised in McGregor and later Minot, graduating from Minot High in 1941. She was active in chorus, basketball, volleyball, shorthand club, G.A.A., and Commercial Club. She was also a member of Theta Rho.
At about age 19, Doretta traveled with three girlfriends by train to live in Santa Monica. There, she worked as a secretary at North American Aviation.
Doretta married Donald LeRoy Johnson in San Francisco on Nov. 25, 1944. Once LeRoy finished his duty in the Navy in 1945, they settled in San Francisco. They loved dancing swing dance to the big band music and went to many dances together.
She could play piano by ear (taught by her namesake grandmother, Doretta Barden) and we enjoyed hearing her play medleys at many family gatherings.
Doretta was a stay-at-home mom raising her three kids, Pam, Craig and Bruce. In 1957, the family moved to Hayward, where they lived until 1968 when LeRoy built his dream home in Scotts Valley.
While in Hayward, Doretta worked at Gilmore Steel and Crown Zellerbach. In Santa
Cruz County, Doretta was a secretary for Forest History Society, UC Santa Cruz, and several attorneys. She retired in 1996.
Doretta’s family will always remember her loving, caring ways and her quick wit. She always had a sweet smile for everyone who came her way. Doretta always put everyone else first — a true “low­ maintenance” woman, selfless.
She was most interested in what was happening in others’ lives, kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.
Her wonderful cooking, baking, canning, and crocheting are a great memory for all of us and she loved doing it. Her love of family was shown simply by the sparkle in her eye and the sweet smile on her face. We are all blessed to have had her in our lives for 91 years.
Doretta’s loving family includes her children: Pam Johnson, Craig (Catherine Meyer-) Johnson of Santa Cruz; son-in-law Bill Johnson. Her grandchildren are: Steve (Jen La-Bounty) Johnson of San Jose, Renee Rodriguez of Aptos, Todd Johnson of Santa Cruz, Brian (Gina) Johnson of Paso Robles, and Abbie and Emily Johnson of Santa Cruz.
Her great-grandsons are: Joshua and Jonathon Rodriguez of Aptos, and Zachary and Alex Johnson of San Jose. Doretta is also survived by many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
Doretta was preceded in death by her husband LeRoy in 1972, son Bruce in 2002, her parents, Reuben and Evva, and her siblings: brothers Jim Olson, Bob Olson, Nick Olson and sisters Mary Lou Esterby and Betty Anderson.
A celebration of life will take place at Benito and Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel, 1050 Cayuga Street, in Santa Cruz at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015.
A gathering will immediately follow at, the Scotts Valley Senior Center, 370 Kings Village Road, in Scotts Valley.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Cancer Society, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or to your favorite charity.

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