Frances M. Johnson, age 87, died peacefully on Saturday, December 15, 2018, at Oakwood Prairie Village in Madison. She was born April 2, 1931, to the late Evalyn (Parke) and Raymond Eickstead in Janesville, Wis., later growing up in Belvidere, Ill., and Durand, Ill.

A 1950 Durand High School graduate, Frances graduated in 1954 from Northern Illinois Teachers College in DeKalb, Ill. She married Ray W. Johnson June 12, 1955, in Rockford, Ill. at the Unitarian Church.  Frances taught English and French at the high school level in Huntsville, Ala., Durand, Ill., and Brodhead, Wis. After retirement, she tutored English language learners in Brodhead as a volunteer.

An active community leader, Frances was a founding member of two Unitarian Universalist congregations, helped form the predecessor organization of Compassion & Choices in Wisconsin, was a member of the League of Women Voters, the Rock County Association for Home and Community Education, was an Avon 4-H Leader, worked for marital property reform in Wisconsin, and volunteered for the American Cancer Society.

Frances’s guiding principle was to treat all people with dignity, respect and kindness. Reading, music, gardening and discussing history and current events with friends were her passions.

Frances is survived by her husband, Ray Johnson; their three daughters Daphne (Lloyd) Holterman, Nadine (Sam) Miller, Valerie (Jeff) Renk; six grandchildren Lauren (Jacob) Brey, Taylor Holterman, Carly (Ben) Wood, Eleanor Miller, Kyle Breunig and Mikaela Breunig. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Barbara Fosler, and three aunts.


A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, December 21, 2018, at the D.L. Newcomer Funeral Home, Brodhead, Wis., preceded by a visitation starting at 10:30 a.m. until the time of the service.  Online condolences may be made at

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the University of Wisconsin Foundation Initiative to End Alzheimer’s or a charity of your choice.

The Johnson family would like to thank the staff at Oakwood for their compassionate care of Frances.