Cover photo for Arlene Johnson's Obituary
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1932 Arlene 2024

Arlene Johnson

August 14, 1932 — February 9, 2024


Arlene Joan Johnson, 91 of Biwabik passed away peacefully on Friday, February 9, 2024 at Carefree Living in Virginia.


Arlene was born on August 14, 1932 to Henry and Lily (Keinonen) Mickleson in Hutter. She was raised in Biwabik and graduated high school in 1950. She then pursued a degree in elementary education. Upon returning to Biwabik to begin her teaching career she met the love of her life, Wallace (Wally) Johnson. They were united in marriage on December 28, 1956. Biwabik remained their hometown throughout their life. Together they raised three children, Doug, David, and Judi. Arlene was a homemaker in their children’s younger years eventually returning to teaching and retiring in 1988. Her three children were her biggest blessing. After retiring her favorite pastime was watching her grandchildren grow, she was present in all aspects of their lives and always available to give advice. Her and her family have countless memories of time together at the cabin on Comstock Lake, dinners served at her dining room table (she made the best apple pie and cinnamon rolls), sleepovers, and trips to New York to see David and his family. Arlene was always found in her gardens, with dirt stained hands and knees pulling those damn weeds out among her beautiful flowers. She was a member of the Biwabik Garden Club, where she was known to have some of the best gardens in town. You would find a pair of binoculars around her neck, as bird watching was one of her favorite pastimes. The thousands of miles she put on around Biwabik with her walking friends, kept her in shape, allowing her to live 91 fabulous years. Her and Wally were members of the Finnish Dance Club, where they were able to show their Finnish heritage. She was also a member of the United Church of Christ in Biwabik, she belonged to their quilting club, pasty making days and missions trips to Mexico while her and Wally wintered in Texas. Her and Wally lived a life of love and happiness together, he truly was the love of her life. Together their most important part of life was family. Arlene will be remembered for taking care of those she loved, always putting others before herself, and her stubborn ways of not accepting help in return. She was as independent as they come, and wanted to do it all herself. When cooking she would always add a “chooka chooka” amount, it was her way of measuring. And when saying goodbye to anyone dear to her she would say “be good to yourself”. We couldn’t have asked for a better mom, grandma, great-grandma (GG), she was the best of the best and will live on in all of her loved ones.


Arlene is survived by her daughter Judi (Tom) Stecker; grandchildren: Jenny (Andrew Tait) Cross, Jeremy (Ellie) Stecker, Tanya (Dustin) Rabideaux, Samuel Johnson, Lydia Johnson; great-grandchildren: Zander, Aubrey, Izzy, Kierja, Soren, Svea, Elin; and daughter in law Andrea Johnson. She is preceded in death by her husband Wally; sons: Doug and David Johnson; and her parents. 

Per Arlene’s request no service will be held. The family asks in lieu of cards or memorials to plant a flower or tree in your garden in her memory. Add a "chooka chooka" amount to everything you make in life and most importantly be good to yourself.


To the staff at Carefree in Virginia, for the past eighteen months, you have made Arlene feel at home. The love, smiles, and humor you have shown to her and her family made this last chapter comforting. She loved each and every one of you! You are truly a remarkable group of people. A thanks to East Range Hospice for their care and compassion over the past few weeks as well.

To order memorial trees in memory of Arlene Johnson, please visit our tree store.


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