Ione Johnson, 78

Published 6:57 am Thursday, February 10, 2022

Ione Johnson, 78

Ione J. Johnson, 78, of Bemidji, MN died Saturday, January 29, 2022 at Sanford Fargo Medical Center.

A Celebration of Life is being planned for June 4, 2022 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Bemidji, MN. Visitation will be held from 5-7:00pm, Friday, February 18, 2022, at the Cease Family Funeral Home of Bemidji. Private interment will be at the Greenwood Cemetery in Bemidji, MN under the direction of the Cease Family Funeral Home in Bemidji.

Ione Jean Handeland was born February 7, 1943 to Ernest and Mable (Bidne) Handeland in Austin, Minnesota. She grew up in Austin and graduated from Austin High School in 1961. She obtained her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University in 1977. Ione was an Elementary Teacher in the Bemidji School District until her retirement in 2004. She held her Kindergartners to high standards because she loved them and believed in them. She lovingly sewed each student a “Cat in the Hat” hat and would showcase her students each spring in the infamous “Kindergarten Play.”

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Ione’s hobbies included cooking, baking, attending concerts, plays and sporting events, playing piano and visiting family and friends over a sweet treat and coffee.

She spent time making blankets for children in need through the local chapter of the Linus Project. She lead her Bone Builders group, understanding the importance of staying fit and healthy, and spent many hours sewing items for the Bemidji Senior Center.

Ione loved gardening and could be found working in her colorful flower beds and bountiful vegetable garden. She loved to tend her raspberries, strawberries, grapes and most recently her apple trees. She would share her produce, strawberry and grape jelly, and delicious applesauce with family and friends. She helped many others start their own berry patches, with runners from hers.

Ione enjoyed many hours sewing. She could create, mend or re-create almost anything. Her most special projects included baby blankets and teddy bears made from “Grandpa Ernie’s” shirts. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she made many beautiful quilts. Taking the time to choose just the right color, pattern and theme for a lovingly created masterpiece. The most treasured being family gifts, given at milestones such as births, graduations and marriages.

Supporting hockey was a big part of Ione’s life, starting with her sons and continuing on through all of her grandchildren. Even when games were played hours away, she often made the trip to show her support and enthusiastically cheer on her loved ones.

Ione appreciated a simple life and her love for others, especially family, is what brought her the greatest happiness.

Ione is survived by her sons, Gary (Vicky) Johnson and Mike (Sheila) Johnson, both of Bemidji, MN. Grandchildren, Ashley (John) Holmgren, Josie (Evan) Liebe, Michaela, Claire, Annika and Brooks Johnson, Great granddaughters Braelyn and Brynlee Holmgren, sisters Elaine (Dave) Macy, Cynthia (Bruce) Hannem, brother, Gordy (Donna) Handeland, numerous nieces and nephews and Significant Other Duane Lindsey. She was preceded in death by her parents, and sister, Hazel Evans.

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