Darlene M. (Rivard, Kontz) Johnson


Darlene passed away peacefully on September 7th, 2022, surrounded by loved ones in her garden of flowers. She was born June 23, 1931 to Aime and Irene Rivard from Oslo, Minnesota. They lived on a small farm with grain fields, farm animals and horses. Darlene had many fond memories of growing up there, including sledding down the riverbank, eating hot cookies from a coal oven, and listening to the swish, swish from the windmill outside her bedroom window. She was so proud of her dad for being the clerk at her one room schoolhouse. She was also impressed when he first hooked up the windmill to the house to power up the glass batteries and turn on the first light bulb in the neighborhood.

After graduation, Darlene attended the Northwest School of Agriculture in Crookston, Minnesota where she met her husband-to-be, Jim Kontz. When they were going together, they would attend events at the Keog Building and dance at the old Bigwoods dance hall to their favorite song, “The Tennessee Waltz.” They married on August 15, 1950. They lived in the farmhouse she grew up in and had a wonderful farm they worked on together. They had 4 children, Lynn, Bonnie, Shelly and Mike who all enjoyed living on the farm and helping with the chores.

After Jim died in 1976, Darlene moved to Arizona and met Dale Johnson. They married in 1977. They enjoyed going on trips and fishing together. Over the years, her hobbies included quilting, gardening, bowling, and baking goods for neighbors in need. After Dale passed in 2014, Darlene resided in Flagstaff. Every day, she had loved ones and special caregivers to share her time with. Darlene had 6 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.

We will all miss her laughter and the love she had for us. Darlene could light up the room with her smile, and she worried more about others than herself. She had a heart of gold and was a mom to many.

Special thanks goes out to Shelly, Andy, David, and her caretakers—especially Larissa, Glynis, Jennifer her hospice nurse, and the rest of the Compasses team. And a very special thank you to her hospice minister, Corinne, who helped guide her through her final journey. She now will be reunited with loved ones who have passed before her, including her daughter Lynn, who recently passed. There will be a Memorial in the spring to celebrate her life.

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