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Jonna's Story

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Jonna P. Johnson was born February 28, 1942 in Joplin, Missouri, and went to be with her Lord on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. She was the oldest of four children born to John Henry Whipple and Pauline (Shropshire) Whipple Barker. She graduated from Turpin High School in 1960; she then attended Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Oklahoma, where she graduated in the spring of 1964 with a Bachelor of Music Education (BME) degree.
Jonna was immediately hired to teach elementary music in Guymon, Oklahoma, and did so from 1964-1968. A fellow teacher, who in the summers worked at Michigan Wisconsin Pipeline, introduced her to Mike Johnson, who also worked at Mich-Wisc during the summer. It was love at first sight, and they were married on May 27, 1968 in Guymon with her father officiating. They shared 49¾ glorious years together!
In 1968, the couple moved to Norman, Oklahoma so Mike could pursue his MBA. Jonna taught junior high music at Central Junior High in Norman from 1968-1974. From there she taught a Central Mid-High until 1982. In 1978 she received her Masters of Music Education (MME) from the University of Oklahoma.
In 1982 Jonna was named the Vocal Music Director at Norman High School. Her choirs won many outstanding awards at the state and national levels. In 1988 she was named a Director of Distinction by the Oklahoma Choral Directors. Due to a stroke she suffered in 1997, Jonna retired as the Norman High School Music Director in May of 1998. In 2000 she was inducted into the OMEA Hall of Fame.
Jonna was an active member of the First Christian Church in Norman, singing in the choir for many years, until she felt her voice was no longer good enough. She then played for Vespers on Monday nights.
Jonna was an avid reader who loved gardening, reading, and enjoying family get-togethers. She enjoyed doing aquatic exercises daily until she was unable to do so. She especially enjoyed having lunch with her pool buddies and her retired teacher friends.
Jonna was preceded in death by her parents, Pauline and John Henry Whipple, and two brothers, Stephen Whipple and Edward Whipple.
Jonna is survived by: husband Mike Johnson of Norman; sister Judy Ramirez and husband Louie of Guymon; sisters-in-law Linda Whipple and Elizabeth Whipple of Woodward, Oklahoma; sister-in-law Nancy Granum and husband Michael of Punta Gorda, Florida; extended family and many, many friends.
Jonnas family has entrusted her care to Tribute Memorial Care in Norman (708 24th Ave NW, 405.292.4787). Her family will be present to receive friends at the funeral home on Sunday, February 18th from 2:00-4:00pm. A celebration of Jonnas life will be held at 2:00pm on Monday, February 19th at First Christian Church of Norman (220 S. Webster), with burial following at Norman IOOF Cemetery.
Donations may be given in honor of Jonna to the Music Ministry of First Christian Church, (220 S. Webster, Norman, OK 73069) or the Norman High School Choral Department (911 W. Main Street, Norman, OK 73069). Please share condolences and memories of Jonna at www.tribute.care.
Published on February 16, 2018
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