Mary Jane Steinmetz Johnson

Honored by:Joyce Johnson Rouse
Brick location:D:17  map

My mother, Mary Johnson, deserves a place among the other heroines at the Plaza of Heroines. Her strength and faith through adversity are inspiring to me even after her death. For her five children, she set a marvelous example of courage, community, contribution, respect for nature and all living things. She fostered a love of music, a familiarity with laughter, an expectation of excellence and an appreciation of good education in her home.

Though Mary never had the opportunity to attend college, she insisted that all of her children would be "college educated." To finance all those tuitions, fees and living expenses, she maintained a hog-feeding operation with the support of her husband, George, north of Cresco, Iowa, until the last tuition was paid and the youngest child - I - graduated. (ISU 1977).

She served her community as an elected officer for Albion Township in Howard County and was active in church leadership roles and community programs to mentor at-risk young people. She was the kind of woman who helped make this country great.

Mary Jane was born at Cresco on July 21, 1926, to Elmer and Mary (Frank) Steinmetz. She was baptized and confirmed in Immanuel Lutheran Church. Mary Jane graduated from Cresco high school and from a normal training course. She taught in the rural schools of Howard County until her marriage to George E. Johnson on December 12, 1945. They lived on a farm until 1972 when they moved to Cresco; however, she continued to go to the farm daily to do chores.

Mary Jane was very active in church and various other groups such as Farm Bureau Hospital Auxillary, Rochester Silo Northern Stars Women's Club, Twentieth Century Club and Tops club. She sang in the church choir and taught Sunday School for nearly 30 years. She also held many offices in the ALCW and served on the church council. Mary Jane died April 5, 1983, at the Howard County hospital at the age of 56.