CASEY — Mary L. Cochonour Johnson, 101, of Casey, passed away Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, at Heartland Nursing Center, Casey.
Mary was born May 12, 1912 in Chillicothe, Ohio, the daughter of Robert Owen Cochonour and Louise Ratcliff Cochonour. At the age of three, Mary and her family moved to a farm in Casey. Mary was a lifelong resident of Casey. She was a 1929 Casey High School graduate and graduated from Indiana State University with a B.S. degree in Health and Physical Education in 1933. She returned to Casey to teach biology and P.E. until 1941. On June 8, 1941, she married Dr. Howard G. Johnson in Casey. He passed away on Oct. 17, 1998. Mary worked as a lab technician for Danville Lakeview Hospital while her husband served in the U.S. Air Force in England, Africa and Italy from 1942 to 1944. After returning from World War II, Howard and Mary were stationed in Texas and California, where their first son, Jim, was born before returning to Casey. Mary became a housewife, part-time bookkeeper and raised their sons, Jim and Kent, who was born in 1954. In 1960, the Johnson family hosted Casey’s first ever foreign exchange student, Tim Oribe, who still visits regularly. They also became the host family for other Japanese visitors including Sayuri Muromachi. Mary became very devoted to many organizations and received many rewards. She was the oldest living lifetime member of the Casey United Methodist Church where she had previously served as President of the Methodist Women’s Society. She was a charter member and past president of the Casey Woman’s Club. Mary was voted Casey Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1980. She received the CHS Outstanding Alumni Award in 1986 and East Central Illinois Area on Aging volunteer award in 1999. Mary was a member of the Clark County Retired Teachers Association and the Casey Airport Boosters. She participated in many volunteer activities including Tote a Meal, regular nursing home visits, FISH, and other numerous church and community related events. Mary was a Cub Scout Den Mother and supported her sons in their scouting experiences. Mary loved to travel and visited Europe, Japan, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and Australia. She had an avid interest in helping and serving others and devoted her life to service. She greatly enjoyed family outings, picnics, and gatherings.