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Lilia J. Johnson (1914 – 2017)


Published: June 8, 2017 • By: Submissions

Lilia Maria Jensen Johnson passed away Thursday, May 25th, 2017, with her loving family by her side. She was 102. She was living at Roses & Ivy Elder Care in Chico, California, for the past three years.

Lilia was born September 15, 1914, in Boquete, Panama, to Rudolf Jensen of Denmark and Justina Rosas of Panama. She was one of seven children. Her father originally emigrated to Panama to work as an engineer on the construction of the Panama Canal. Later he was an executive with the United Fruit Company. As a result of his work, Lilia was raised in various areas of Panama including Concepción, David, and Puerto Armuelles. According to her sister, Nena, it was there where Lilia began demonstrating her competitive spirit, as “she was excellent in sports, especially in basketball and golf.” She attended an American school in David, later attending David College. After college, she worked as a secretary in Puerto Armuelles.

Lilia came to the United States to finish her education at Occidental College in Los Angeles. She graduated from Occidental with the Class of 1940 with a major in English. It was at Occidental where she met her future husband, Richard W. Johnson, who was also attending college there. They were married March 28, 1941, and they moved to Arbuckle, California, in 1948 where Richard (“Doc”) established his medical practice.

Throughout her many years in Arbuckle, Lilia continued her enjoyment of playing golf. She was always a formidable contender in the various tournaments and enjoyed a number of Club Championships at the Arbuckle Golf Club. She very much enjoyed playing with her many friends, an example of which was their team winning the Glenn County Women’s Golf Club Field Day Tournament. She competed and won her flight in the 1973 California Women’s Amateur Golf Championship at Pebble Beach, California.

Lilia was a person who always put others’ needs ahead of her own. She was dedicated to her family, which included taking care of her mother, whom she brought to the United States from Panama.

Lilia lived a full and wonderful life. She was a caring wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. Her husband, Richard, and grandson, Eric, preceded her in death. She is survived by her sister, Julia “Nena” Varney of Los Angeles; sons Dennis (Pamela) of Arbuckle and Christian of Dixon; grandchildren Jennifer (Justin) of Los Altos, Susan (James) of Chico, Andrea (Carlos) of Arbuckle, Richard (Samantha) of Lakeland, FL, Scott (Rayna) of Chico, Christian (Tracy) of Woodland, and Steven of Sacramento; and twelve great grandchildren.

In respect to her wishes, there will be a family-only gathering. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Arbuckle Volunteer Fire Department or the Arbuckle Golf Club.

Arrangements are under the direction of McNary-Moore Funeral Services FD-410 (530) 458-2111.