Velma Jean Johns passed away at St. Patrick Hospital of Missoula from natural causes on Monday, March 7, 2016. She was born in Missoula Aug. 12, 1930, to Walter and Ella Sanders, just one year after her older brother Jim. She had a younger sister Betty, who died of illness as a toddler.
Velma attended elementary school at Franklin School and Willard. She was unable to pursue her education further due to the necessity of pursuing employment, to help her family with living expenses. Though limited in education, Velma was quite resourceful and being the cheerful, friendly person that she always was, she began a very successful career as a waitress in several local, Missoula area establishments. On Dec. 23, 1949, she married Walter Johns in Missoula. The couple was married for nearly 30 years, and during that time raised three children, Linda, born in 1950, Judy in 1952, and Steve born in 1959. They lived in Missoula until 1960 when the couple moved to Evaro. In 1964 Velma went to work at St. Patrick Hospital as a nurse’s aide, and remained with the hospital until retiring 35 years later as a central supply technician. Following retirement, she lived at Missoula Manor for several years, followed by a stay at her daughter Judy’s house for approximately 10 years, and moved to Hillside Nursing home in Missoula approximately two years ago, due to failing health.
Velma was preceded in death by her parents; brother Jim; sister Betty; former husband Walter Johns and her daughter Linda Butler.
She is survived by her daughter Judy McKinney (John) of Missoula; son Steve Johns of Seattle; grandchildren, LaVon (Mike) McVey of Frenchtown and Stephen (Rachel) Habets of Missoula, Alec (Mistie) McKinney of Boise, Idaho, and Amy (Hendry) Lindop of Maryville, Washington. Also great-grandchildren, Kayla McVey and boyfriend Telsun Cook of Missoula, Brianna McVey and boyfriend Nick Olson of Hawaii, Jon Habets of Missoula and MaKayla and Colton McKinney of Boise, and Alecsy McKinney and Tucker Lindop of Marysville. She would have become a great-great-grandmother in just 2 1/2 months.
Velma’s graveside service for family and friends, will be at 10 a.m., Saturday March 12 at Sunset Memorial Gardens, 7405 Mullan Road, Missoula. A Memorial service at Sunset will follow at 11 a.m. Following the service, a reception in Velma’s honor will be held at the Sunset community room. All interested parties are invited to attend.
The family would like to specially thank the staff at Hillside Nursing for the excellent, loving care they gave Velma during the last two years, also the Staff of St. Patrick ICU and Fifth floor for their compassionate and professional care of Velma and her family during the difficult time of her passing. Condolences for Velma’s family may be left at missoulafuneralhomes.com.