Sandy Johnson, age 70, passed away on March 29, 2017, at her home on Happy Flats in Hinsdale, MT from complications of Primary Progressive Aphasia.
Sandy was born on April 27, 1946 in Woodbury, NJ and grew to be a vivacious, animated woman, blessed with talents and strengths. She loved making cakes, music, dancing, and laughing. Blessed with the gift of gab, Sandy thrived building friendships and making others feel welcome and loved, particularly the broken-hearted and marginalized.
Sandy was a pioneer in her own right, a proud “Jersey girl” who built a life and family with her husband and best friend, Darwin, on the frontier of northeastern Montana. Sandy and Darwin met in 1967 in Lake View, New Jersey when Darwin, a Navy sailor, docked there to commission a ship. A whirlwind, coast-to-coast romance culminated in marriage seven months later. After living in Bremerton, Washington and Long Beach, California while Darwin finished his military service, the pair returned- much to Sandy’s surprise- to the Johnson family farm north of Hinsdale in 1968.
Sandy made a home out of their trailer house on the farm. Darwin and Sandy were blessed with two children, Matthew and Paige. Sandy was a loving and protective mother committed to maintaining family relationships, her children spending every other Christmas in New Jersey and summers with relatives in both Montana and New Jersey.
A faithful Christian and prayer warrior, Sandy devoted her energy to sharing the gospel. Honoring the Lord’s Sabbath was a priority for Sandy (to the extent the Johnson’s stopped branding on Sundays) and she went to church every weekend. If weather forced the family to stay on the farm on a church day, Sandy held Sunday School at home.
Sandy was courageous, facing her fears of illness after diagnosis of a neurological syndrome affecting her speech and compromising her immune system. Sandy participated in a study group at Mayo Clinic for five years to help advance the science and understanding of her condition. While disease robbed Sandy of her speech, it failed to affect her faith, hope, and capacity for love and encouragement. She continued to touch people (and hearts) through hugs and kisses to family and friends. Sandy has victory over death and illness through faith, and her family takes comfort knowing she sings with the Lord now.
Sandy is survived by her husband of 49 years, Darwin Johnson, and their children Matthew (Sonja) Johnson and Paige (Jason) Miller of Hinsdale, MT, their grandchildren, Chaz and Brett Johnson and Gabe Miller. She is also survived by brother Daniel and sister Gloria of New Jersey and numerous nieces and nephews. Sandy is now happily reunited, in the presence of her Lord, with her dear friend and sister, Jean, and their parents, Daniel and Theresa Stecher.
A celebration of Sandy’s life will be held at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at the Glasgow Assembly of God Church. The Johnson family respectfully requests that Sandy’s friends would honor her love of sharing stories by coming prepared with a few of their own.