July 18, 2024

Rev. LaVonne Marie Johnson

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The Rev. LaVonne Marie Johnson of Bartlett, TN, passed away Monday, March 25. She was 68 years old.

 Born Feb. 28, 1956, in Alexandria, MN, to Orville and Marian (Watry) Johnson, she grew up on a farm near Barrett, graduating from Barrett High School in 1974. She went on to culinary school and had a successful career in catering and as a chef, owning her own restaurant for a time. At other times, she worked as an insurance agent in Denver and as a newspaper copy editor in Roswell, NM.

 In her late 40s, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State College in Denver, CO, where she lived for many years with her husband at the time, then attended Iliff School of Theology, also in Denver, to answer her call into the ministry, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 2007.

 She completed her Lutheran studies at United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, PA, then served a yearlong internship at Immanuel Central Lutheran in Burkes Garden, VA.

 Then she was called to pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Roswell, NM. She went on to serve church in Corona and Ancho, NM, before accepting a call to serve Epiphany Lutheran Church in Collierville and Living Word Lutheran Church in Arlington, both in the metropolitan Memphis area, where she was still serving at the time of her death.

 She is preceded in death by her mother, Marian Johnson and her brother-in-law, Jon Estenson.

 Survivors include her father, Orville (Kris) Johnson; brothers, Steve (Roberta) Johnson and Duane (Nancy) Johnson; sisters, Linda Estensen and Jeni (George) Sakanai; aunts, Leota Johnson and Bev Johnson; many cousins, nieces, and nephews; the many friends she made through her life and her ministries; and her two “fur babies,” her dog Melanchthon and cat Schrodinger.

 A memorial service to celebrate the life of LaVonne is planned for 1:00 p.m. June 22 at Lincoln Lutheran Church, 18259 County Rd 5, Barrett, MN.

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