Edna Shealy Johns


February 24, 1925 - January 14, 2009

see Edna's Legacy.com guestbook...


Remarks by Edna's children at the 1/17/09 Memorial service:.

Remarks by Theodore A. (Ted) Johns (hear the mp3):

It's hard to know exactly what words to say so as to do justice to the memory of the angel that has just left us. Anyone blessed enough to have loved and been loved by my mother knows that there's really no way to crystallize in a few minutes how special she was.

To me, Mom's greatest strength was the ability to make people feel special. So many of us felt such a strong bond with her; I know I, for one, catch myself foolishly wanting to believe I held some sort of extra special top place in her heart. But that was really her brilliance, wasn't it? Mom/Grandmom/Aunt Ted/Edna: Whatever your relationship with her, you were made to feel a king or a queen.

Mom and I shared birth positions as youngest in our families. Maybe this gave us an extra special bond, maybe it didn't. It doesn't matter – she made me feel like it did.

Not long ago, I was going through a box Mom had sent me filled with childhood mementos: a baby book, grade school artwork, news clippings and the like. In this box were the five hospital ID bracelets she had saved from the five times I sent her to the hospital with false labor before I finally came into the world. A challenge from the start, I guess. And this to a nearly forty-two-year-old, a time when most women have put the efforts of nursing and diaper changes behind them. As an adult and a father, I find this incredible, but as a child, I was unaware. Mom was more energetic and vital than mothers decades younger. She only made me feel I had the most loving, caring, talented, tireless and experienced mother in the world.

For all four of us, Mom always did more than babysit; she participated. When we were young, she'd get on the floor and play our games with us. Teach us. Laugh with us. Compete with us. When we got a little older, she befriended our friends. People always wanted to come to our house for sleepovers. There weren't just chocolate chips in those pancakes, there was love. As we got older, she genuinely loved our spouses as her own and shared her gifts with our children. Selfishly, I wish my children could have some more.

When Mom was sixty-nine and I had just finished medical school, she called me and asked if I had time to go to Disneyworld since neither of us had ever been. Just me and her. She ran me into the ground through rain and shine and it was one of the sweetest times of my life. If you have no better way to remember my mother, picture her as a sixty-nine year old teenager running around in the rain wearing a
yellow Mickey Mouse poncho.

For the past many years, Mom and I shared the crossword puzzles together. We'd discuss them over the phone since I was out of town. Seems like such a simple thing, but those puzzles branched to deeper conversations that were oh so special. When I started puzzling, it was in large part a way to guarantee some Mom-time. If you knew my mother, and I hope you did, cherish your memories of her. If you didn't know Mom, I am truly sorry; you missed something irreplaceable.

I only wish we could all have some more Mom-time now.

Remarks by Robert A. (Rob) Johns (hear the mp3):

We're gathered today to remember and pay tribute to a very special lady. Some of you knew her quite well and for a long time while others were denied that privilege. On behalf of my family, we are extremely pleased that you are here in her honor.

God, our Heavenly Father, made himself very apparent in my mom's last months, weeks ,and days, through various signs and actions. I want to personally thank the staff of Aberdeen Village and Grace Hospice, who selflessly cared for Mom with a Godly graciousness that maximized her comfort and dignity. The care Mom received was a reflection of that which she gave throughout her life. It was reflected in the nurturing of her kids and grandkids, all of whom were treated in such a way that each thought they were her favorite. It was reflected in her service in Stephen Ministry, in her years of caregiving for my dad after his spinal cord injury, and in her devotion to all the special friendships she cultivated over the years.

A few years ago, when it was time to license our car, my wife chose a personalized plate which read ZEPH317. She chose it because our son, Scott, had read to her from his Bible from the book of Zephaniah, chapter 3 verse 17, and because a friend had shared with her how her own son had read that very verse to her for encouragement.

On Tuesday, when Patsy opened Mom's devotional to read to her, the scripture was Zephaniah 3:17—

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will
take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He
will rejoice over you with singing."

While some may write this off as coincidence, I choose to believe it to be a poignant example of God's attention to detail.

On a slightly lighter note, many of you know that Mom enjoyed, immensely, solving crossword puzzles and shared that love with friends and family. On Wednesday, as I sat in her room reflecting, I picked up that day's New York Times puzzle. Somehow, I felt it an appropriate way to spend time with Mom. The third clue I looked at was 5 Down, given my random-scan, non-systematic approach to crosswording. The clue was part of a palindrome, and after a few moments thought, I figured out that the four letter answer was E-D-N-A. I congratulated Mom on making it into the puzzle and, while it was not a great spiritual moment, I will remember and cherish it forever.

Finally, as I entered Mom's room after returning from lunch on Wednesday, I heard emanating softly from the CD player the words to "Beautiful Savior", one of many hymns on a CD that we had brought to her room only a few hours before and one which Mom had made very clear to us years ago that she wanted as part of her memorial service. Only then did I notice my sister's sobs and realize that Mom had just drawn her last breaths while her favorite hymn was playing.

God's timing and plan are perfect. He blessed this world with Mom nearly 84 years ago. She blessed us with her love. And she is now blessed with the joy of eternal life in heaven.

Remarks by Chris Johns (hear the mp3):

I am Christine Anne Johns Mathews, Edna’s 1st born and her daughter. What a special privilege that has been! Mom was my dear friend, my sounding board, my teacher, my example. The phrase “I am becoming just like my mother” is not a joke or curse for me, but a high compliment. I desire my life to contain the character qualities embodied in hers.

In Matthew 22:36-37 Jesus tells us “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’. This is the first and greatest commandment.” As a daughter, granddaughter and sister to Lutheran Ministers, Mom was ingrained with a deep Faith in God. She spent countless hours in personal Bible Study and prayer over her lifetime. Many of you can attest to the additional time she devoted to serving the Lord inside this church building and out in the community. Mom, thank you for the example of making Faith central to existence on this Earth.

Jesus continues in Matthew 22 “And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Edna Caroline Shealy Johns loved people. Thank you, Mom, for teaching us to put into action heart felt feelings for others. Each of you could come up with your own experience of the love with which Mom touched your life. She actually made the phone call, wrote the comforting note, found time to sit and visit. She selflessly made herself available.

I close with the words of Mom’s first grandchild, my son Drew.

“As our world continues to crumble under the weight of corrupt individuality, we are surely indebted to those truly special people who buck the trend and tip the scales toward what is true and noble and right. These people lose their individual lives in an effort to serve others, influencing enough fellow citizens to retain at least a remnant of excellence on the earth. Sometimes such influence comes in an overt fashion, from podiums and best-sellers, but the most pervasive and lasting influence flows through everyday circumstances, in the nitty-gritty events of life that are not always highlighted. It is found in the form of subtle, unassuming consistency of character that often is not fully appreciated until it is gone. This only begins to paint the picture of Edna Johns, my dear grandmother, to whom no one else compares….No more memories will be made, but Grandmom’s influence will continue to multiply exponentially. I hope that Grandmom makes us realize that life doesn’t have to continually deteriorate, that perhaps we are not supposed to passively watch our world crumble. May she remind us that through faith in Christ, and the work of His Holy Spirit, we can truly participate in a glorious kingdom in which splendor is unlimited.”

Edna and Leo Johns
(with Golda von Kaiserstein I) - 1951


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