Evelyn Johnson, age 91 of Cambridge died January 10, 2015 at home. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 P.M. Saturday, January 17th at First Baptist Church in Cambridge with Pastor Terry Port officiating. A visitation will be held from 5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. Friday, January 16th at Strike Funeral Home – Cambridge Chapel and also one hour prior to the funeral Saturday at the church. Interment will be in Cambridge Union Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the Cambridge Christian School.
(Clara) Evelyn Jain Johnson was born on April 24, 1923 in Burt, Iowa to Ellis and Jesse (Good) Jain; the fourth of eleven children. She was born to a farming family and in 1936 the family moved to Elk Mound, Wisconsin where the farming tradition continued. Evelyn graduated from Elk Mound High School in 1941 and worked for a while at a local hospital as a nurse’s aide. She and a friend moved to Milwaukee during the war and Evelyn worked at Western Electric refurbishing old phones. She also worked at the lunch counter in a Walgreen’s store. This proved prophetic, as it was the start of a career in the food service industry and a lifelong passion for preparing and serving food.
In 1950 Evelyn moved to Minneapolis where she was employed in the cafeteria kitchen at Northwestern Bible College where Dr. Billy Graham was the school president. She also spent a year working in the office of the Billy Graham Crusade, primarily handling mailings. She was proud to count Dr. Graham as a friend. In 1953 a board member at the college approached her and asked if she would be interested in managing a restaurant that he owned in Cambridge, Minnesota. Anxious to get back to a more rural setting she agreed and moved to Cambridge. She re-named the restaurant the “Chuck Wagon Cafe” and soon turned it into the finest restaurant in town – the one where the businessmen ate, the Lions Club met and the students went after ball games. It was there that she made the acquaintance of young man recently returned from the Korean War.
On June 2, 1956 she married Robert W. Johnson and they moved to the Johnson family farm in west Cambridge where they raised their five sons. Always active in the community and church, Bob and Evelyn soon gained the reputation of inviting anyone in need over for a meal and companionship. Holiday dinners nearly always included a non-family guest. She is famous for her apple pies and fruit cakes that people actually ate! Over the years she developed a small business making and selling these cakes with the “secret ingredient”, (it was actually her homemade applesauce from apples she grew herself).
When the children were older and in school, Evelyn helped her husband at Johnson Plumbing, doing bookkeeping and retail sales. In time she expanded her interest in all things old by opening “Aunt Clara’s Consigned Collectables”. She was her own best customer and filled the farm house with many treasures. She was an advocate of healthy and natural foods and was a founding member of Mom’s Co-op. She was proud of her member # – 004.
Evelyn was always very active in church groups, bible studies and Christian Womens’ Club which she hosted prayer coffee at the farm right up through last month. She always loved to talk about Jesus and loved to sing many hymns that she had memorized.
Evelyn Jain Johnson passed away at her home on January 10, 2015 at the age of 91 years, 8 months and 17 days. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Bob; brothers, Ralph, Bob and Raymond; sisters, Carol, Eunice and Dorothy; son, David and grandson, Brady.
She is survived by sons, Charles (Patricia) of Cambridge and grandsons, Blake and Perry (Maggie); son, Paul (Lisa) of Louisville, KY and grandchildren, David and Casey; son, Mark (Corrine) of Cambridge and Thomas (Corrie) of Cambridge and grandsons, Alex and Tanner (Candace); great-grandchildren, James, Melanie and Michael; daughter-in-law, Lynn; brother, Merrill (Myrna); sisters, Elsie, Mary Ellen and Bernita (Cecil); and by many nieces, nephews and loving friends.