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Geraldine "Jerry" JohnsonAugust 25, 1931 ~ June 24, 2017 (age 85)
Sunrise August 25, 1931 and Sunset June 24, 2017 - Geraldine Johnson, also known as Jerry and Dean, 85, of Kewanee, IL, passed away June 24, 2017 at her home.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, July 1 at Rux Funeral Home in Kewanee. Pastor Lawrence D. Anderson Sr., of the Second Baptist Church in Kewanee, will officiate. Visitation will be from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. prior to the services at the funeral home. Burial will be in Pleasant View Cemetery. There will be a Celebration of Life Community Potluck Social from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday, June 30 at Second Baptist Church, 610 W. First St., Kewanee. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the funeral home or to Second Baptist Church of Kewanee.
She was born in Parkin, Cross County, AR on August 25, 1931 to Tetrether Flemings Collins and Fred Collins. Geraldine was educated at White Rock School in Widener, AR, a rural one-room school house, and a private segregated school in Forrest City, AR. In her teenage years, her mother married Albert Dobbs, Sr., known as Papa Dobbs. She was greatly influenced by him and considered him her father as she always had fond memories of him and how wonderfully he treated his new family, especially her mother. She gained numerous family members because of Papa Dobbs and was close to them until the time of her passing. She was looking forward to the Searcy family reunion Labor Day weekend and upcoming Dobbs family reunion, to be held in Washington, D.C. She was especially excited about visiting the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Considered one of the seasoned family members, she had a wealth of knowledge of the family history and enjoyed when the family asked her about the past.
She became a Christian at an early age and was always very active in church. Growing up, she was a member of Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church in Lakeside and Madison, St. Francis County, AR until she moved to Illinois. She married Iria Johnson Sr., of Forrest City, AR, in May 27, 1951 in Forrest City, AR. Their union formed four children. Soon after their marriage, Geraldine moved to Kewanee in 1951, to join her husband. In the same year, she became a member of Second Baptist Church in Kewanee. She served in various positions in the church, most recently as chaplain of the Mission Ministry and was appointed as Church Mother by Second Baptist Church's Pastor Lawrence D. Anderson Sr. in 2013. She was very proud and honored to hold the distinguished position of Church Mother. She worked as a housekeeper in private homes in Kewanee for 15 years and as a housekeeper for Leisure Hills Nursing Home (now Royal Oaks Care Center) in Kewanee for several years. Geraldine's long-time employment was at Kewanee Care/Peterson Health Care starting in 1988 and retiring at 78-years-old, after 21 years of service. She received numerous awards from Peterson Health Care which included Lifetime Service award, Longevity award, Employee of the Month and Employee of the Year. Her hobbies included landscaping her yard, spending time with her church family and friends, traveling, talking to long-distance family, and visiting her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She also loved watching ABC’s series of the “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” and after every episode would talk about it at great lengths with her granddaughter.
Survivors include her sister, Almeater Collins, of Boston MA; brothers: Wardell Collins, of Marianna, AR, and Clyde Maxwell, of Cordova, TN; daughters: PareLee Brown, of Aurora IL, Faye Turner of Westmont, IL, and Betty Jean Taylor, of Patterson, NJ; sons Stephen “Stevie” (Lisa) Johnson, of Westmont, IL and Ira Johnson, Jr., of Russellville, AR; six grandchildren: Tammie Leigh (Stirling) Brown-Edwards, of Macomb, IL; Alfred (Candice) Turner Jr., of Aurora, IL; Shaunta' Turner, of Aurora IL; Kristina Diemer, of Aurora; and Yakira and Janoah Johnson, of Westmont, IL; sixteen great grandchildren; one great-great grandson; nephews, Percell Searcy Jr., Rev. Franklin Searcy and Leonard F. Muhammad, all of Chicago IL and Ernest Searcy, of Matteson IL; nieces, Margarett Fox of Chicago IL, Carrie Dotson of Cleveland OH, Ineice Searcy of Forrest City AR, Lydia Coleman of Tulsa OK and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Preceding her in death are her parents, her husband in 1982, son, John I. Johnson, brother, Albert “Buddy” Dobbs Jr., and sisters, Hattie Jordan, Polly Searcy, Lydia Wright, Edna Barkley, and Frenchie B. Young.