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Bob Lind, Published February 23 2009

Forum fan was known for scalloped potatoes

When Eldeane Johnson, 84, of Lisbon, N.D., died in January, The Forum lost a loyal fan. But then, so did people who loved scalloped potatoes.

The Forum? “(It) was an important part of her life,” her son Steven Johnson writes.

The food? Well, her obituary said, “She was a terrific cook and made the best scalloped potatoes and ham ever.”

But let’s go back to The Forum and to Steven, superintendent of Lisbon Public Schools, who says his mother “always made sure we had a daily paper in our home, because she thought it was a great way for us eight children to learn how to read.”

Eight children was almost the norm in the family: Eldeane herself was one of eight (but not all born at the same time, as per the California woman recently). Their parents were Oscar and Inga Kylstad, who farmed near Englevale, N.D.

Eldeane attended Verona (N.D.) High School, for which she was an all-county basketball star, and graduated in 1942. That summer she and Harold Johnson were married.

Eldeane was one busy gal. She was active in Trinity Lutheran Church, Lisbon, for which she was a Sunday School teacher, circle and choir member and Bethel Bible series instructor, and she was Sunday School superintendent for 20 years.

She also was active in the Mother’s Club and Friends Club, sold Avon and Watkins products and cooked for the local golf course, no doubt turning out many gallons of her famed scalloped potatoes.

And somehow in there, she and Harold raised their eight kids.

After those eight were grown, Eldeane attended Valley City (N.D.) State University, earned a degree, then worked for the local ASC office as an administrative assistant.

After her husband died, she and Shirley Walock formed the Walock-Johnson Insurance Agency in Lisbon.

Meanwhile, in her later years, Steven says, “The Forum was part of her morning ritual. Crossword puzzles were her favorite and they kept her mind sharp.”

Recently, but after she died, Neighbors carried a story about some musicians called the Fairmont Old Timers. Eldeane had written that her uncle, Hogan Anderson, had been a member of that group.

His mother, Steven says, “would have been honored to have her name in the paper. She was very proud of her family, community and the state of North Dakota.”

And probably, although to a lesser extent, of her scalloped potatoes and ham.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com