Music 03

Catherine J. Johnson

May 17, 1947 ~ September 1, 2021 (age 74)


Catherine “Cathy” Johnson, age 74, passed away on Wednesday, September 1, 2021.


Cathy was born to Richard and Janet Johnson on May 17, 1947, in Madison. Cathy always had a passion for music and at 8 years old she started taking piano lessons from Roberta Brown. Roberta was like a second mother to Cathy. They remained close for the rest of their lives.


She spent her early years as a student at Blessed Sacrament School and then at Edgewood High School. After graduation from Edgewood, she entered the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters where she stayed for 7 years, first as a student and then as a teacher and received her bachelor’s degree in music education with an emphasis on organ performance in 1969.


After leaving the sisters, she was very fortunate to receive a fellowship to the University of Notre Dame where she earned her master’s degree in organ performance and music history. While at Notre Dame she not only learned a lot about music but also learned to love football. She looked forward to football season each year and was an avid Badger and Packer fan.


After receiving her degree Cathy returned to Madison where she spent the next 27 years teaching vocal elementary music in the Madison School District. She always loved teaching. Besides teaching Cathy was always involved in other musical endeavors. She joined Madison Diocesan Choir as a vocalist, but she quickly became the accompanist for the group. She worked closely with the choir’s director, Jim Hofsteen. They became best friends and soul mates and remained close for the rest of their lives. She also served as organist at several churches and directed the Cathedral Choir.


Cathy’s proudest accomplishments were the founding and directing of Madison Children’s’ Choir and after the Wisconsin’s Children’s’ Choir. These were groups for singers in grades 3-12 who were musically gifted. After her retirement she continued to work with Wisconsin Children’s Choir as a board member and advisor to the group.


Some of her other interests included ballroom dancing, tennis, and golf. She especially loved golfing with her dad during the summer months.


She is survived by her brother Mike and 2 sisters, Patricia and Peggy. She is further survived by her closest friends, Roberta, Jim, Barb, and many others. She is especially grateful to Shawn Robison who helped Cathy in many ways for many years allowing her to stay in her own home.


No services are planned at this time.


Cathy wishes to thank all the many people who helped mold her life into the person she became.

Memorials may be made to the Wisconsin Children’s Choir or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.


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