Cover photo for Helen R. "Skip" Johnson's Obituary
Helen R. "Skip" Johnson Profile Photo

Helen R. "Skip" Johnson

August 28, 1930 — September 1, 2023

Helen R. "Skip" Johnson


Oregon, IL – Helen R. “Skip” Johnson died Friday, Sept. 1st, 2023 at the Serenity Hospice and Home in Oregon, IL.  She was born on August 28th, 1930 and raised in Oregon, Illinois, the daughter of Irvin and Jane (Schier) Gocken.  She graduated from Oregon High School in 1948.  She then attended Northern Illinois State Teacher’s College in DeKalb, IL.  She married Frank “Reed” Johnson on June 23rd, 1951 in Oregon, IL at the Lighthouse Church.  Skip left Northern Illinois State Teacher’s College to join her husband while he served his country in the United State Marines, but returned to college in her 50’s to complete her degree.  Skip was very active in her community.  She was a member of the Oregon United Methodist Church.  She was an entrepreneur having co-owned Johnson’s Appliance with her husband Reed. In 1981, she established Skip’s Shape Shop bringing the first fitness center to the area. Later she worked many years for the Oregon Park District by managing the fitness area and teaching aerobic classes.  She loved to play cards with her friends, especially Bridge.  During the pandemic, Skip and her friends would gather for coffee and conversation at a picnic table near the Oregon Dam, thus forming the “Dam Coffee Club”.  Skip regularly volunteered in her community including at Lifeline Food Pantry.  She was an original group member and driving force instrumental in the restoration of the Oregon Depot Museum.  Skip enjoyed reading and was a member of the Oregon Book Club. Skip was best known for her infectious smile and cheerful disposition. She was predeceased by her parents, Irvin and Jane Gocken, husband Reed Johnson, sisters Marian Gocken and Kay Altenburg.  She is survived by her sister Lorena Robinson of LaSalle, IL, her 3 daughters: Sandy Joyce of Palatine, IL; Lori (Steven) Cromie of Elgin, IL; and Linda Magnuson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; 7 grandchildren: Jennifer Magnuson Biewen, Nate Magnuson, Kyle Magnuson, Tara Joyce Schobert, Tim Joyce, Colin Cromie, and Brendan Cromie; 6 great grandchildren:  Grady Biewen, Molly Biewen, Payton Schobert, Henry Schobert, Tucker Magnuson, Jazmyn Dawson, as well as many nieces and nephews.  Visitation will be held Friday, Sept. 8th from 5-8 PM at the Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home, 110 S. 7th St. in Oregon, IL.  Funeral service will be 11:00 AM  Saturday, Sept. 9th at the Oregon United Methodist Church with the Rev. Megan Smick officiating.  Burial will be at the Riverview Cemetery just north of Oregon. A celebration of her life will be held at the riverhouse at 3 pm on Saturday (4883 S Hidden Heights Rd, Oregon).  A memorial fund is established in Skip’s name for the American Cancer Society and the Serenity Hospice and Home.

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Past Services


Friday, September 8, 2023

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Farrell Holland Gale Funeral Home - Oregon

110 S 7th St, PO Box 68, Oregon, IL 61061

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Funeral Service

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Oregon United Methodist Church

200 S 4th St, Oregon, IL 61061

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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