Henrietta Bernice Johnson (nee Cheshier and Norris) of South Haven, Michigan died Sunday, February 2, 2020 at the age of 103.
She was born Henrietta Bernice Cheshier on August 19, 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee to Samuel Henry Clay Cheshier and Jeanne Evelyn Cheshier (nee Harmon). She had an older brother, Isaac Douglas Cheshier, who was born on the same day a year earlier. Henrietta grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and Maywood and Oak Park, Illinois. After finishing high school, she started her college career at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama with thoughts of going into nursing.
In 1942, while they were both government employees in Washington D.C., Henrietta met Hilliard Ramón Johnson. They were married in December of 1942 and had two children together. Ramón Douglas “Doug” Johnson was born in September of 1943, followed by Everett LaVan “Van” Johnson in November of 1945. The big happy family moved to Chicago, Illinois where they purchased a home on Burnside Avenue. Henrietta later married Charles Norris in 1965.
Henrietta made a commitment to go back to college and finish her education. She attended Chicago Normal Teacher’s College and then, after moving to the family farm on M-43 in South Haven, Michigan, obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Education from Western Michigan University. She was with Covert Public Schools for approximately 30 years. She taught hundreds of fourth and fifth grade students and later took a role with Head Start.
She had many friends and students who were like family to her, and all were invited to go to church with her. She was a faithful member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church from early childhood. And while she loved the Bangor SDA Church, trips to the Shiloh SDA Church in Chicago were a special treat.
Henrietta was a strong, independent woman who lived alone on and maintained the family farm until she was 99. Visitors were always welcome, but she especially loved visits from family. Extended visits were always good for putting on a few pounds, as she enjoyed cooking for her loved ones.
She is survived by her son Everett LaVan Johnson of Chicago, Illinois; her grandson Ramón Douglas Johnson, II (Angie) and great-grandson Ramón Douglas Johnson, III of San Antonio, TX; her grandsons Deon Thomas and Derron Heard of Chicago, Illinois; and grandsons Khalif and Christian (Angel) of Chicago, Illinois; her sister-in-law, Arminda A. Cheshier of Casa Grande, AZ; her nephew Isaac Douglas Cheshier, II of Phoenix, AZ and his children Jonathan, Andrew, Benjamin, and Aidan Cheshier and David Trujillo; her nephew Dr. Samuel Henry Clay Cheshier (Darci) of Salt Lake City, Utah and his children Libuše and Beneš Cheshier Hebenstreit and Ava Le Hebenstriet ; her niece Dr. Jeanne Evelyn Cheshier Alvarado (Alex Leger) of South Haven, Michigan; and her niece Arminda Bernice Perch (David) of Rapidan, Virginia and her children Jacob, Jonathan, and David Perch.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her son Ramón Douglas Johnson, her husbands Hillard Johnson and Charles Norris, her daughter-in-law Sharon Alnutt (nee Johnson), and great-nephew Zachary Cheshier.
Visitation will be Thursday, February 6, 2020 from 1:00-2:00 pm at the South Haven Seventh-Day Adventist Church located at 157 Blue Star Highway, South Haven, Michigan 49090. Funeral services will begin at 2:00 pm, followed by the burial at Monks Cemetery in Geneva Township. A repass will be held back at the South Haven Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Pastor William Lee from Shiloh SDA Church (Chicago) will officiate the services.
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