Merna Folkerts Johnson

Merna Evelyn Folkerts Johnson, 90, formerly of Steamboat Rock, passed away July 20, 2023 at Grand Plains Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation in Pratt, Kansas. A graveside service took place at the Steamboat Rock Cemetery Sept. 9, 2023 at 9 a.m. with a brunch immediately following at the Pine Lake Wildlife Club.

Merna was born Nov. 13, 1932 in Cleves, Iowa to Robert J. and Evelyn (Sheldon) Bullis. She grew up in the Owasa and Iowa Falls areas, graduating from Owasa High School in 1950.

Merna was united in marriage March 21, 1951 with Robert Dale Folkerts at the Little Brown Church in the Vale near Nashua. Bob and Merna spent the majority of their 66 years of marriage living on the Folkerts’ farm west of Steamboat Rock. Merna was active in the Eldora United Methodist Church and was involved with various school activities for her six children.  In 1981, when their youngest child was graduated from high school, Bob and Merna defied local norms, packed up a few special things in a tiny travel trailer and moved to Alaska where they spent the next 33 years, including over seven years as caretakers at a fly-in hunting and fishing lodge. In 2014, they moved back to the lower 48, living with daughter Deb in Missouri and then with son Jon in Kansas.  Bob passed away in 2017. In 2019 Merna was united in marriage with Dr. Fred Johnson in Haviland, Kansas; Fred passed away in 2022.

All who knew Merna remember her spunkiness, absolute fearlessness, fun-loving nature and that wonderful smile!! In her later years, she enjoyed writing poems, creating original birthday and anniversary cards and entertaining friends and family with coffee and baked goodies.

Merna was preceded in death by her parents, both husbands, sisters Dorothy and Roberta, and brothers Ren and Judson. She is survived by her sons Michael (Noreen) of Juneau, Alaska; Jonathan (Debra), of Haviland, Kansas; Timothy (Vicki), of Newport, Oregon, and Christopher (Alana, of Park City, Montana, and daughters Lora (John) Newby, of Surprise, Arizona, and Debra (Michael) Johnston, of Gig Harbor, Washington. In addition, there are 14 grandchildren: Eric Newby, Vance Newby, Kelly Stanfield, Stacy Frazier, Marcy Bunce, Emily Bauer, Jenica Mahinay, Ryan Hahn, Danae Bee, Mackenzie Kessinger, Todd Folkerts, Daniel Folkerts, Brianna Folkerts and Olivia Folkerts, plus 25 great-grandchildren. She will be missed by many other relatives and friends from Iowa to Alaska.


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