The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


December 9, 2013

LaVerna A. Johnson

MIAMI, Okla. — LaVerna A. Johnson, 93, long-time resident, of Miami, Okla., passed away Dec. 7, 2013, at Landmark Hospital in Joplin, Mo., after a short illness. She had resided at Eastwood Manor, in Commerce, Okla., for the last 10 months.

LaVerna was born July 27, 1920, in Shickley, Neb., the second of four daughters, to Henry and Johanna Berkbigler. She graduated from Geneva, Nebraska high School with the class of 1938.  After passing her Civil Service Exam, she moved to Washington D.C. and began work as a clerk typist with the War Production Board.

While living in D.C., she met Homer Johnson, a U.S. army soldier from Fairland, Okla., at a USO dance. They were married at the rectory of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart Church in D.C on Jan. 23, 1943. They were man and wife for 59 years before Homers death in March of   2002.

Following his deployment from D.C. to overseas duty during WWII, LaVerna returned to her home in Nebraska, where their first daughter, Verna June, was born. When Homer returned to the states, the family moved to Oklahoma and soon settled in Miami, where their second daughter, Virginia Ann, was born, and where they made their home for the rest of their lives.

After starting in a clerk-steno position at B.F. Goodrich in 1952, LaVerna became secretary of the Industrial Engineers Department of B.G. Goodrich, where she worked until her retirement in 1985, after 33 years with the company. LaVerna was baptized into the First Christian Church of Miami in 1951 and was always active in her church and in the Martin Sunday School Class.  She loved to sing and was a member of the church choir for almost 40 years.

LaVerna was a talented seamstress, an avid fisherman, and a bowler who served for many years as secretary of the Womens League and representative to many national bowling conferences. After retirement from B.F. Goodrich, she took up  golf with her husband and with the Ladies League at the Miami Country Club. She learned to play bridge and spent many enjoyable hours playing with friends at the Country Club and at the Miami Senior Citizens Center.

Most of all, LaVerna cherished her familyher daughters and grandchildren, their spouses, and her six great-grandchildren. She never missed an opportunity to celebrate with them and to participate in the activities of their lives.

LaVerna was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; and by two sisters.

She is survived by her sister, Helen Gray, of Carmi, Ill.; her two daughters and their husbands June and Robert Taylor of Miami and Virginia and Clarence Dawson, of Joplin, Mo.; five grandchildren, Joby Taylor and wife, Beth, of Baltimore Md., Rob Taylor and wife, Annette, Laurie Martin and husband, Tim, all of Joplin, Todd Schnakenberg and wife, Jennifer, of Cedar Park, Texas and Corey Burris, of Miami; six great- grandchildren, Christopher, Brendyn and Nathan Taylor, of Joplin, Isabel and Katherine Taylor, of Baltimore and Karaline Schnakenberg, of Cedar Park, Texas; plus several nieces and nephews and their children; She is also survived by her devoted cocker spaniel, Dewey.

Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Brown-Winters Funeral Home. Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the First Christian Church of Miami. Interment will be in GAR cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in LaVernas name to the First Christian Church Youth Ministry or the Animal Welfare Society on E. Central in Miami.

Arrangements are under the direction of Brown-Winters Funeral  Home.

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