The life of PHYLLIS ADELLE JOHNSON
April 9, 1931 – October 22, 2020
Phyllis Adelle Johnson was born on April 9, 1931, to Herbert A. Ring and Bessie (Collins) Ring in Chicago, Illinois. She was baptized at Aldersgate Methodist Church on June 14, 1931. She attended Bateman Grade School, where she got excellent grades, except for deportment, where she always got a check mark for talking too much. Phyllis discovered her love for entertaining and being in the spotlight at an early age. She started dancing and studied elocution in grade school and participated in plays at the local park. She took up piano with several teachers, although, she never could quite play as well as her father. She went to Roosevelt High School where she was continued her favorite activities, singing in the choir, and acting in high school plays. She was always active in church activities at Aldersgate Methodist Church when young and later at Nebo Lutheran Church in Chicago.
Phyllis considered studying acting after high school however she decided to pursue a career in nursing instead. She went to Wright Junior College for one year and then entered a three-year course in nursing at Wesley Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago. She met her future husband, Raymond (Ray) Johnson, at a nurse’s dance. Phyllis and Ray were married on January 30, 1954, in Chicago.
She started her nursing career at West Suburban Hospital in Chicago, first in Pediatrics then in Orthopedics, until she and Ray moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where Phyllis worked at the UW Hospital until Ray finished school. They then moved to Portage, Wisconsin, where Phyllis worked at Divine Savior Hospital, then the Portage Clinic, and then at the Divine Savior Hospital Nursing Home from the time it was built until her retirement in December 1989.
In 1956 Ray shocked Phyllis when he bought a farm in the Caledonia Hills. Phyllis had never been on a farm in her life. They lived on the farm full time for ten years where she had a wonderful adventure raising pigs, and their three daughters, until they moved back to Portage in 1965. In their sixty-three years of marriage, Phyllis and Ray were blessed to have the opportunity to travel to forty nine of the fifty states, where they reveled at seeing God’s hand in the beauty of nature. Phyllis enjoyed bowling, card playing, and golfing. She loved her flower gardens and enjoyed talking to the birds, squirrels, and rabbits that would visit her yard. She found great pleasure photographing her friends and surprising them at Christmas with her photos and annual tales for many years. She was blessed with many, many friends, who all enjoyed her endless stories and contagious humor. She loved to entertain her family and friends with her funny antics. Always the performer, she was quite comfortable on stage, making people laugh. And she still liked to talk a lot!
A big highlight in her life that she was very proud of was performing with the Portage Players. She played Yente in a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Portage Theatre and also had a part in their production of “Mame” at the same theatre.
After they retired, Phyllis and Ray wintered in Rockport Texas, for thirty-one years, where she made many wonderful friends who enjoyed her spunk and storytelling. The new audience she found in Texas continued to feed her love of theatre and performing, and her ability to spread joy with her humor. She joined the Circle W Kitchen Band where she performed a song and dance that always kept the crowd in stitches when she would declare “I’m Just a Dancing Fool” She loved making people laugh!
Phyllis was a woman of strong faith who enjoyed Bible studies and singing in church choirs most of her life. She belonged to D.A.R., Wauona Trails Woman’s Club, Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society, past Altar Guild member. While in Texas she attended Faith Lutheran Church in Rockport, where she enjoyed quilting with her church friends. She was devoted to her husband and family who were the second most important part of her life. Her devotion to GOD was always first. Her faith and love for the Triune God never wavered. She trusted Him to be with her during bad times and good times. She was blessed by God!
In the fall of 2019, Phyllis was diagnosed with cancer. She chose to seek treatment in Austin, Texas, where she was able to live with her daughter, Linda, and avoid being hospitalized. When the treatments were not successful, she chose Home Hospice until the Lord freed her from her pain on October 22, 2020, at her home in Austin with her family by her side. She was so happy to know she was going to the place she had always dreamed about, prayed for, and sang her praises to.
What more could anyone want than to be in God’s presence!
JESUS LOVES ME THIS I KNOW was her banner for life.
Phyllis is survived by her daughters, Christine Johnson, Linda (John Keller) Johnson, and Connie (Jay Mitchell) Trantow; grandson, Jake Trantow; sister-in-law, Joan Ring; and many nieces and nephews from the Ring and Johnson Families. She was preceded in death by her parents, Herbert and Bessie Ring; brother, James Ring; and her beloved husband, Ray.
Funeral services for Phyllis will be held on August 28, 2021, at 1:00 p.m., at St John’s Lutheran Church, 850 Armstrong Ave., in Portage, Wisconsin. Visitation will be from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Inurnment will be private. She invites everyone to have much fun and joy at her new birthday celebration! She has requested two of her favorite songs be played for you: “Lift High the Cross” and “Amazing Grace”.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. John’s Lutheran Church or School in Portage or Faith Lutheran Church, 938 W Lott St, Aranas Pass, TX 78336.