Cover photo for Catherine (Kay) Mary Johnson's Obituary
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Catherine (Kay) Mary Johnson

December 5, 1933 — April 12, 2024

Madison

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Catherine (Kay) Johnson who left us peacefully to be with her Lord and Savior on Friday April 12, 2024. Born December 5, 1933, in Placentia, Newfoundland.


Kay was lovingly raised by her father James P. Verran, a veterinarian, and her mother Mary Josephine Byrne, an esteemed elementary teacher and organ instructor. Kay graduated from St. Edward’s High School and business college in 1951.


On Jan 10, 1953, Kay embarked on a new chapter when she married David P. Canny, OD, a US Airforce Staff Sargent.


Their union marked the beginning of a life of adventure, moving from Canada to Great Falls, Montana, and later to Chicago where David completed his optometry education.


In 1960, the couple with their growing family, laid down roots in Platteville, WI. Here, David set up his practice and they became active members of the Jaycee’s and Jaycette’s, with Kay gracing fashion shows as a model and both took great delight engaging in the community by singing and performing in plays and musical performances.


They enjoyed taking the kids camping in their handmade campers many a weekend. The whole family made lifelong friendships from these happy excursions.


Kay loved sewing clothes for her family and taught her girls the trade as well. One memorable Christmas Kay sewed the whole family matching red plaid vests and jumpers.


Her dedication to her eight children, among them a set of twins, was unwavering and upon raising them, she pursued her calling in the medical field. Kay’s compassionate spirit led her to a distinguished career as the Hemophilia Nurse Coordinator for the American Red Cross and UW Madison, WI, where she retired in 1994.


Kay found love again and married Clarence (Pat) Johnson, PhD., on July 16th, and together they cherished their golden years filled with traveling, camping in their camper, taking trips to Oregon, along with the fun of spoiling their little dog Cassie and their cat Babe. Pat and Kay both took great delight in cooking and entertaining. Most memorable are the Chinese Chow yearly dinners with Pat’s old friends they called, “the usual suspects”. Their favorite date was to enjoy some fine dining at a lovely restaurant and then afterwards, Pat loved to show off Kay on the ballroom dance floor. After a heartfelt 10 ½ years of marriage, Pat preceded Kay in death following his battle with cancer.


In her later years, Kay’s vibrant presence was a gift to the communities of Prairie Point and Attic Angles in Madison, where she met many new friends. Kay enjoyed making scones, cookies, cranberry pudding, and hot meals to share with her neighbors.


It never took Kay long to make friends. Her cheerfulness, kindness, and pretty smile all wrapped up in her 4’10” frame just naturally made her quite charming, lovable, and easy to be around. Kay’s journey through life was marked by devotion to her family, a passion for caring for others, and an unwavering spirit of joy and resilience. Kay’s warmth, kindness, and spirited laughter will be clearly missed by all who knew her. We find comfort in knowing her legacy will continue to live on through the lives of all those she touched.


Kay was preceded in death by her brother Harry Verran, Nova Scotia and her sister Alicia Kreipel, Phoenix, AZ. Kay’s sister Mary O’Reilly resides in Newfoundland with her son Noel.


Kay’s children who deeply miss her are:

David (Angie) Canny, Mosinee, WI

Marc-Edward Canny, California

Colleen (Brian) Doran, Mosinee, WI

Jana (Bob) Butler, Springbrook, WI

Bryan Canny, Elizabethton, TN

Bruce Canny, Philippines

Barb (Randy) Sudmeier, Dodgeville, WI and John (Kim) Canny, Shakopee, MN Pat’s Children are:

Steve Johnson and his wife Darlene Coltrain, Madison, WI Norman (Kay) Johnson, Salem, OR

Kay’s 21 Grandchildren, who were the light of her life are:

Laura Sass, Adel Canny, James Canny, Scott Canny, Grace Gliniecki, Stephen Doran, Katie Erlandson, Molly Hayhoe, Timothy Doran, Bayley Butler, Gibson Butler, Nicholas Campbell, Brennan Brady, Juon Canny, Miri Canny, Tim Hereid, Jeffrey Sudmeier, Corina Wagner, Madeline Canny, Jack Canny, and Lily Canny.

Kay’s children, grandchildren, and 31 cherished great-grandchildren, will continue to carry the essence of Kay’s spirit through the tapestry of their lives. Her lessons, love, and memories will forever be etched in their hearts.


A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held on Monday May 6, 2024 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1833 Regent St, Madison, WI 53726 Father Andy Jones will officiate.  A visitation will begin at 10:00am followed by the funeral service at 11:00am.   A meal for all will follow the service. Location to be announced at the service.


According to her wishes, Kay’s ashes will be spread by her children in Lipsett Lake beside her son John’s cabin in Spooner, WI where she and her family made many wonderful memories.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Catherine (Kay) Mary Johnson, please visit our flower store.

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