April 8, 1920 – November 18, 2018
Anna Johnsen passed away on November 18, 2018, at the age of 98. Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Norwegian immigrants, Anna grew up with her four sisters and four brothers in a three-bedroom house in Huntington Station on Long Island. Always the smallest, she joked that she was not able to grow because she slept between two of her sisters in one of the two double beds in the bedroom that the five girls shared. She met James Kenneth Johnsen, “Ken,” when he visited the house with friends on New Year’s Day, 1936, and married him in 1946, after he returned from World War II.
They spent most of their married life in Stony Brook, Long Island, in the house that Ken built in 1955. She was a loving mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, known for her cookies and fairness to all. An active member of the Sons of Norway in St. James, New York, she also worked as a salesperson at the department store Abraham and Strauss. When Ken became ill and required full-time nursing care, they moved to Maryland to be near her daughter’s family. At 71, after a lifetime on Long Island, she drove over the Verrazano Bridge for the first time and made a new life for herself at the Charlestown Retirement Community, where she traveled with her new friends and threw herself into volunteer work, earning over $6,000 for the library by making and selling notecards.
At 98, Anna survived her husband, all her siblings, and many old friends; still, always resilient, she found joy in new friendships and in her role as “Gigi” to her two great grandsons. She is survived by her daughter and two sons and their families, including three grandchildren and the two great grandsons, and by many nieces and nephews.
Anyone wishing to make a donation in her honor may contribute to the Benevolent Care Fund, Charlestown Retirement Community, 719 Maiden Choice Lane, Catonsville, MD 21228, Attention: Philanthropy.
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