Joyce and John Johnsen died only two weeks apart


Joyce Johnsen (1948-2022)

Joyce E. Johnsen, 74, of Rockton, IL graduated from East High School, where she was a cheerleader and on the aquatic dance team. She also played the piano and sang in the First Free Church choir.  In addition to many hobbies, Joyce loved and worked in the medical field as a surgical assistant for nearly 35 years.

Joyce passed away on November 9, 2022, surrounded by her loving family, only two weeks after the death of her husband, John Johnsen.

Joyce was born on January 18, 1948, in Rockford, IL, the daughter of Elroy and Marian (Rewerts) Wicklund. She enjoyed gardening, canning, playing cards, cooking/baking, floral arranging, and bowling. She was an avid Coca Cola collector, and loved to hunt for her antique treasures. Joyce grew up vacationing in Wisconsin and her love for the Northwoods continued on with her own family. 

Joyce married John Johnsen on May 7, 1977. They had known each other since the 6th grade. They stayed married for 45 years, even as she struggled with dementia for the last 10 years. But his love and devotion for Joyce never wavered, even while he battled cancer and other health issues.

John “The Captain” Johnsen had a 40 year career working for AT&T and its successors. He was an incredible craftsman who could build anything. He was legendary for his storytelling and crude jokes. He was a league bowler with several 300 games. Joyce and John had many hobbies they enjoyed together such as antiquing, bowling, and gambling in Las Vegas.

Joyce was a very involved mother; whether it was going to a sporting event, driving to practices, or cheering on her kids from the sidelines. After retirement she welcomed her new “job” as "Grammy Care." She’d take care of grandchildren home sick from school, and that later turned into full-on Grammy Care for their first years to keep them out of daycare. Her love for her children and grandchildren was unconditional.

Joyce is survived by her sons, Todd (Rachael) Reese and Chris (Kristin) Reese; daughters, Melissa (John) Hogan and Carrie (Jon) Priest; grandchildren, Jared, Ben, Matthew, Reagan, Noah, Emmery, Ava, Alivia, Lyla, Briea and Harrison; brothers Dennis (Carol) Wicklund, David (Mara) Wicklund; sister, Janet (late Jim) Easton and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband John.

Special thank you to the staff at Anam Memory Care and Konnie Say from United Hospice.

A joint celebration of life for Joyce and John will be held on Jan. 7, 2023, from 12 noon - 3 p.m. at Prairie Street Brewing Company, 200 Prairie Street, Rockford, IL 61107.  Memorials in Joyce’s name may be made to Alzheimer’s Association.

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