Verna Mae Menze was born on May 23, 1929 at home in Otto Township, rural Ottertail, Minnesota. Her parents were the late Henry Friedrich and Fern Beatrice (Kempf) Menze. Verna was Baptized on June 16, 1929 and Confirmed on April 18, 1943 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Ottertail, Minnesota. Verna attended grades 1-6 at District #160 and St. John’s Parochial School. She graduated from the New York Mills High School with the class of 1947.
On January 15, 1949 Verna was united in marriage with John Arthur “Smokey” Johnson at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Ottertail. Their marriage was blessed with 4 children. Verna and John owned and operated Lakeview Resort on Rush Lake for 32 years.
On May 29, 2000 John passed away. Verna continued to reside in rural Ottertail. On February 18, 2019 Verna passed away peacefully at Perham Health at 89 years of age. She will be dearly missed by her family and friends.
Preceding Verna in death were her parents; husband, John “Smokey”; grandsons: Christopher and Daniel; siblings: Orland (Delores) Menze; Lois (Andrew) Koljonen; Dean (Betty) Menze; Janice Jacobson; brother-in-law, Robert Simonds.
Verna is survived by her 2 daughters: Marcia Johnson of Otterail; Laurel (Gary) Eckstein of Buffalo; 2 sons: Alan Johnson of Seattle, WA; Steven (Debra) Johnson of Ottertail; 6 grandchildren: Paul (Brandi), Sarah (Jeff), Josiah (Amanda), Corby, John and Thomas; 9 great-grandchildren: Ryan, Matthew, Malacki, Steven, Noah, Jasmine, Trinity, Jase, and Decklin; sister, Shirley Simmonds; brother, Larry (Kathy) Menze; brother-in-law, Leroy Jacobson; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and a host of friends.