Claryce Johnson

Claryce Johnson, 94, of Garrison, passed away on February 16, 2024, at the Benedictine Living Center, Garrison.

A Celebration of life service will be held at 10:30 AM on Thursday, February 22, 2024, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Garrison, ND. A visitation will be held from 5:00-7:00 PM on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, at Thompson Funeral Home, Garrison, ND.

Claryce Elaine was born to Carl and Emma Classon, at her grandparent’s house in Garrison on January 2, 1930. Her early years were spent in Turtle Lake where her parents farmed. She began school in Turtle Lake, and during the war years, moved to Garrison where she lived with her grandparents while her parents worked in Washington state. She graduated from Garrison High School in 1947.  The following year, she attended Moorhead State Teacher’s College. She earned a one-year teaching certificate and taught at Blue Hill School near Ryder. It was the best of times and the worst of times. Teaching went well but the winter was horrendous. It was the winter that the Army opened the roads and pilots dropped hay to the cattle. Teaching was not going to be her career – one year was enough.

During high school, Claryce worked at Dave Sayler’s Five and Dime Store. Later, she worked at Andersgord’s Department Store in Garrison. It was while working at Andersgord’s that she met her future husband, Darwin Johnson. Darwin also worked for Andersgord’s in Sanish. It was during the closing of the Parshall store that the two of them met while inventorying bras. Claryce said Darwin was beyond embarrassed! Darwin and Claryce were married August 3, 1952, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Garrison. They lived in Sanish for one year before returning to Garrison to purchase the Red Owl Store. They owned and operated the business for forty-two years.

They had a family of five children, along with dogs, cats, turtles, Benjy the Pig, chickens, and snakes. Mom was never happy about Paul’s snakes, which he kept in a coffee can under his bed.

Traveling was an important part of their lives. Family vacations to the Black Hills of South Dakota, other states, and Canada, filled two weeks each summer. Later in life, there were trips to Spain, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Hong Kong, Norway, and Sweden. During retirement, they spent several winters in the southwest, which Mom really enjoyed. Turquoise was her jewel of choice; Norwegian silver ran a close second.

Claryce was very proud of her Norwegian/Swedish heritage, and she explored family genealogy. She made two trips to Norway and Sweden and met many of the people that she had researched. She instilled the Scandinavian traditions in her children.

Claryce was a Sunday School Superintendent and Teacher, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Heritage Park, and Garrison Zoning Board. She and Darwin were members of the Garrison Investment Club, the Good Sam Club, and members of St. Paul Lutheran Church. Her faith was important to her and guided her through her life. 

For the past two and a half years, Claryce has resided at the Benedictine Living Center in Garrison. On Friday, February 16, at 12:40, Mom went to meet Jesus at the age 94. Predeceasing her were her husband, Darwin, son, Paul, grandson, Eric, great grandson, Nolan, and brothers-in-law Lyle Johnson and Loren Knutson. Her survivors are Marian and Richard Lehnherr, Garrison; Harold and Sherry, New Mexico; Charles and Renee, Bowman/Garrison; and Janet and Gary Hiltner, Minot. Grandchildren: Ingrid, Jared, Adam, Christina, David, and Brian. Great-Grandchildren: Claire, Charlotte, Lucas, and Leif. Sisters-in-law: Joylea Knutson and Marlene Johnson Beachy.

If you would like to give a memorial, please give it to a place that touches your heart, as that will touch our family’s hearts. Ha det bra, Mom! (Have it well – in Norwegian) 🙂

To view a livestream of the service, go to www.facebook.com/garrisonthompsonfh/ or to the Thompson Funeral Home-Garrison, ND Facebook page.

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