Rita Johnson

February 9, 2018

Rita (Gourley) Johnson, (83), of Chandler, Arizona, passed away on January 20, 2018 in Chandler with her loving husband and several of her children by her side.


Rita was born in Mason City, Iowa to Ross and Anna Gourley on September 7, 1934. She attended school at Pine Island High School. She graduated from Wichita State University with a degree in Elementary Education where she played the saxophone in the marching band. She became a teacher in Wichita and then later in Minnesota. She married Carlyle Johnson on December 21, 1968 in Coon Rapids, MN. They lived in Maddock, ND where Rita taught school. After moving to Dickinson, ND in 1980, Rita began Happy Day Care which became Hope Christian Academy at Evangelical Bible Church.


Rita is preceded in death by her parents, Ross and Anna Gourley, her sister Wanda McGuckin, her brother Jerry Gourley and her son Fernando Johnson.


Rita is survived by her husband, Carlyle Johnson, as well as her children; Kent (Theresa) Johnson, Tina Johnson, Paula Friez, Jeri (Steve) Kjerstad, and Toni (Randy) McWhithey. Grandchildren; Ann, Nicholas, Candace, Ruby, Matthew, Danica, Jackson, Emerald, Malene, Alaric, Nathan, Alec and Bryson. She is also survived by many great-grandchildren as well as foster children.


The family of Rita Johnson wishes to extend our sincere thanks to New Hope Community Church of the Nazarene, Hospice of the Valley and the doctors and nurses that helped with Rita’s care.

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