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Joyce Johnson
(Died August 9, 2012)

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Joyce Johnson

Joyce E. Johnson, 92, died on Thursday August 9, 2012 at Hospice of the Bluegrass in Lexington, Kentucky with Susan and Kim at her side.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, Sept 7, 2012 at Decorah Lutheran Church, 309 Winnebago Street, Decorah, IA, with Rev. David Sorenson presiding. The family will greet friends following the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in Memory of Joyce Johnson Memorial Fund for Physical Therapy or to Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511.

Joyce was born on February 19, 1920 to Erick and Elizabeth (Soland) Bakke in Decorah, Iowa. She was baptized in Feb 1920 and confirmed in 1933 by Rev. Paul Koren in the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church. She graduated from Decorah High School in 1937 and then attended Iowa Teachers College where she received a Bachelor Degree in 1941. She taught biology and physical education for three years before returning to school at University of Iowa Medical School to study physical therapy. She received her Physical Therapy degree in 1946 and ultimately practiced physical therapy for 39 years. She first worked for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis Research Field Program in Physical Therapy in Colorado for three years. She had some amazing stories from those days. She then returned to Iowa and practiced in Dubuque for several years until she married and moved back to Decorah. She then started the Physical Therapy program in Decorah in 1956 and continued there for 28 years. Joyce married Orlin C. Johnson on November 24, 1954 at the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church in Decorah in a service officiated by Rev. Elmer Ellefson. They had a very active 49 years together. Joyce thoroughly enjoyed her work in physical therapy. Every day was challenge for her to help people of all ages regain their independence. During her career as a physical therapist, she was well known both in the state of Iowa as well as nationally. In 1972, she was a recipient of the Iowa Physical Therapy Association’s “Olive Farr Distinguished Service Award” for her participation in district, state and national activities as well as her demonstrated professional stature in the field of physical therapy. In 1973, she was appointed by Gov. Robert Ray as a member of the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners. She was a life time member of The American Association of Physical Therapy and The Iowa Physical Therapy Association. Despite her professional duties, she was an active wife and mother. She was an active leader of the Girl Scouts for 15 years when her daughters were in grade school through high school. She and Orlin both helped to build Camp Tahigwa and setup and ran the local Decorah Girl Scout Camp at Twin Springs for many summers. Her cooking and baking skills were shared with the girls resulting in the Girl Scout Kringle booth at Nordic Fest. Joyce was a member of Decorah Lutheran Church, a member of Beta Sigma Phi for over 60 years, and the Nordic China Painters. Her hobbies included camping in her younger years, sewing, reading and painting porcelain china.

Joyce is survived by her children: Susan (Kevin) Taylor, Turner, OR; Kim (Dennis) Swan, Versailles, KY; and Scott Johnson, Decorah, IA; six grandchildren: Katelin and Andrew Taylor; Laura, Travis, Kelsey and Jacob Swan; and one sister, Antoinette Webb of Decorah.

Joyce was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Orlin, Dec. 19, 2003.


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