She was born Leoata Hopkins, in West Plains, Missouri on January 23rd, 1933. Leota went to be with the Lord on November 18th, 2018. She is survived by her children: James Johnson and his wife Jill, Kevin Johnson and his wife Rhonda, David Johnson and his wife Brenda, Shannon Hildebrandt and her husband Chris, her sisters, Jane, Bonnie and Jessie, as well as her Grandchildren, Great Grandchilderen and one Great Great Granddaughter. She was preceeded in death by her parents, Lesta and Harold Hopkins, her first husband Burton Johnson, her second husband Earl Wagers, her Son George Johnson, (survived by his wife Ricque) Daughter Alla Johnson, and her Sister Bessie.
She married Burton Johnson (a veteran of World War II, on August 12th, 1950 in Longmont, Colorado, where they raised their 4 Sons and 2 Daughters. This was the beginning of her life-long dedication to children. Besides raising their own 6 children, Leota and her husband Burt, were foster parents to 84 kids from 1966-1977. Many of these children stayed in touch, long after they had grown to adulthood. Leota and Burt also devoted their time serving as probation officers for troubled youth. Leota's life became a life of sacrifice. The care of her family and others, became more important to her, than her own wants and needs. Being a child of the Depression, growing up in the ozarks, taught her the meaning of what was truly important and valuable. Even in later years, as her health began to fail her, she would still reach out to others, who were in pain or sorrow, so they would not be alone. Cooking, baking, sewing and knitting, were her creative passions. They were ways for her to give back, and her meals and receipes were legendary. You couldn't leave her home on most occasions, without being fed.
Like many from her generation, she gave lots of advice, but it wasn't always taken. Later, only to be proved correct. Her intuition was amazing and sometimes unexplainable. In her 85 years, she saw the world and history change greatly. From 1930's gangsters like Bonnie and Clyde, to the Great Depression, World War II, Korea, Elvis, the Kennedy assasination, the Beatles, Vietnam, Apollo 11 moon landing, Nixon, Reagan and beyond.
She had a love of music, that was so strong, that it lead most of her children to become musicians. She loved Bluegrass, Country, Gospel, Hymns, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. Her faith in the Lord was awe inspiring, and she paid that forward, as a great example to others. She attended the Church of Christ in Longmont, her family being founding members, and in later life, the First United Methodist church in Berthoud. Leota also had a love of comedy, her favorites being: Peter Sellers, Tim Conway, Flip Wilson, John Ritter and shows like Hee Haw, Laugh-In and Sanford and Son. She loved to laugh, abnd her smile and laugh were infectious. She touched the lives of so many, and because of that, her legacy will live on.
Her Celebration of Life will be on Sunday December 9th, 2018 at the First United Methodist church, 820 9th Street in Berthoud.
Contributions, in lew of flowers, can be made to the Alzheimers Association in Leota's name.