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Mrs. Elna Johanson, 1918-2005
Mrs. Johanson taught General Education at Sunny Hills. (Photo from 1976)


In Loving Memory of ELNA SWANSON JOHANSON Elna (Sue) Johanson, 86, of Las Vegas, Nevada and formerly of Whittier, California, died June 13, 2005. She resided in Las Vegas for nine years after living in Whittier from 1926 to 1996. 


She was born December 22, 1918 in Boston, Massachusetts to Albert and Alma (Ohlsson) Swanson Her parents traveled across country by car in 1926 and settled in Whittier where Elna was raised. 


She is survived by a son, Charles, and his wife, Helena, of Bryn Mawr, PA and a daughter, Jane Johanson, of Las Vegas, NV. She is also survived by a granddaughter, Scarlett Lueck, of Las Vegas and a sister, Lillian Johnson, of San Clemente, CA. 


She was predeceased by her husband Carl Gustaf Johanson, who passed away in 1979. Elna graduated with a Ed.B from UCLA in 1940 and earned an M.A. degree from California State College Los Angeles in 1961. A teacher, she taught primarily in Whittier and Fullerton, California until her retirement in 1978. 


She continued to tutor children for 20 years after her retirement. 


A leader in many Whittier community and cultural organizations, Elna was the founder of the Whittier Historical Society; Chair of the Save the Bailey Association; Save our Depot Committee; Pio Pico Mansion Committee; and Whittier Preservation Committee. 


She was also a candidate for the Whittier City Council. A longtime member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), she received its Las Distinguidas award in 1990 for her contributions to the City of Whittier and preservation of its history and culture. She was also a past-present of the League of Women Voters in Whittier. 


Elna highly prized her Swedish heritage. She was the founder and president of the Swedish-American Historical Association of California (SAHAC). She and her husband, Carl, were also member of the Vasa Order of America for more than 50 years, founding the Nordic Lodge in Whittier. Her contributions promoting Swedish-American relations we re recognized in 1980 when she received a gold medal from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. She also received the Award of Merit from the Swedish Council of America. 


A memorial service will be held June 18, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. at Good Samaritan Lutheran Church, 6500 W. Flamingo, Las Vegas, NV 89103.


To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.

Published in Whittier Daily News on Jun. 17, 2005.


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