Eleanor Johnson
Eleanor Johnson

Obituary of Eleanor Johnson


Eleanor "Cookie" Johnson, 76, a resident of Houghton for many years, passed away Tuesday December 25, 2018, at the Mayo Clinic-St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN, where she had been a patient for the past two and a half weeks.

She was born on August 30, 1942, in Traverse City, MI, a daughter of the late Delvin and Crystal (Jaquays) Housding. Cookie was raised in Alanson, MI where she graduated from high school. She received her Associate Degree from Parkland College in Champaign, IL, in 1979, and her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts with a focus in Scientific and Technical Communicationfrom Michigan Technological University in 1983.

On July 7, 1990, Cookie was united in marriage to Dr. John H. Johnson, and the couple havemade their home in Houghton since that time. They often enjoyed trips to Martha’s Vineyard,Massachusetts, and the accompanying photos of her are from an August 2018 trip.

In her working years, Mrs. Johnson was employed by Michigan Technological University as a halftime technical writer for the College of Engineering, and a halftime student advisor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

In April of 1991, Cookie had surgery for a Glioblastoma Multiforme tumor in her brain,followed by 6 weeks of radiation treatments. In 1993, she retired from her positions at Techbecause of the effects of these treatments. Cookie’s form of cancer commonly has a survival rate of about one year, but she survived, miraculously, for almost 28 years.

Cookie led a full life. She was a member of the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Houghton. She enjoyed photography, knitting and quilting with her friends, and she was active in biking, cross country skiing, and hockey. Cookie began volunteering with Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly in the mid 1980’s, helping as a visiting volunteer, serving on the National Board, and helping with many social and holiday activities. She and her husband John created “The John & Cookie Johnson Needs Fund” to help with immediate needs of the local elderly. She was also, with Ken Cygan, a founding member and team captain for the local American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

Cookie published two books in her writing career: “I Remember Mackinac,” and “There Are No Miracles Luv” which are based on excerpts from her journal when she was receiving radiation treatments in May -June 1991 at the Mayo Clinic.

Preceding her in death were her parents and a sister, Jean Fairbairn.

She is survived by h

er husband, Dr. John H. Johnson of Houghton;

her children,

John Rigg, Jr. of North Hollywood, CA;

Steve (Bethany) Rigg of Okemos, MI;

her step-daughters,

Jill Johnson of Harlingen, TX;

Karin (Rob) Ettenson of Santa Fe, NM;

her grandchildren, Walquer and Victor Rigg, Christopher and Kari Kimball, and Troy Ettenson;

her sisters,

Gwendolyn Hausding of Sun City, FL;

Sherilyn (Paul) Duesing of Sault St. Marie, MI;

her brother-in-law, Tom Fairbairn of Alanson, MI;

her sister-in-law, Karen Bougneit of Sun City, AZ;

her special cousins, Dennis Ryan of Janesville, WI; and Jone and Peter Hoffman of Black River Falls, WI, who traveled many times to Houghton for visits. Cookie is also survived by numerous

nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Cookie’s family would especially like to thank her caregivers, Cari and Teri, for their help and care over the years; and to Darlene, Susan, and Kaitlin, for physical therapy and for helping with her exercises each weekday.

A memorial service and burial for Cookie will be held in the spring or early summer.

Memorial contributions in Cookie’s memory can be directed to the John and Cookie Johnson Needs Endowment Fund, through the Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly Upper Michigan Foundation at 200 Michigan St., Suite 609, Hancock, MI 49930; or to the Cookie Johnson Undergraduate Endowed Scholarship, through the Michigan Tech Fund, 1400 Townsend Dr., Houghton, MI, 49931.

To view Cookie’s obituary, or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.memorialchapel.net.

The Memorial Chapel & Plowe Funeral Homes are assisting the family with arrangements.

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