Kathleen Johnson, age 96, passed away peacefully on February 14, 2021, at Agrace Hospice Care in Fitchburg. Born in England, the daughter of Mary and George Kent, she was united in marriage to Cecil Johnson in 1945.
Raised in a small village adjacent to Highclere Castle of "Downton Abby" fame, Kathleen was a true survivor. At the age of 4, her mother suddenly died, leaving her father to work and raise the young family of 3 girls. Her oldest sister Esme, age 9 took on many of her mother's responsibilities. Kathleen and her middle sister, Joan, tended to the home and garden. She completed her education in a one room schoolhouse and at the age of 14 set out to work at one of the large estates nearby. Although her grandfather was a gamekeeper at Highclere Castle, she preferred to work elsewhere. She could tell many a story of the hard work she endured. Soon the depression came, then WWII. Rationing was so severe that the whole country was on the brink of starvation. She survived bombings and narrowly avoided being shot from a German fighter plane as it emptied its bullets before crashing. Kathleen did war work in Newbury, where she met her future husband, Cecil Johnson an American GI. They were married in 1945 and she immigrated to Chippewa Falls, WI. Later, they moved to Milwaukee, had one daughter. She was a wonderful mother and homemaker. In their later years, the couple enjoyed traveling throughout the US.
Special thanks to the staff at Brookdale Memory care, Meritier Hospital, and Agrace Hospice Care in Fitchburg.
Kathleen is survived by her daughter, Ellen Willett, son-in-law, James Willett and grandson Benjamin Willett. She is also survived by a niece Judith Asbury of England. She is preceded in death by her husband of 73 years, Cecil Johnson, her mother Mary Kent and father George Kent, sisters Esme Toovey and Joan Burden and nephew John Brewer.
A private ceremony will be held for immediate family at a future date.
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