Betty Jo Johnson Axelson was born April 5, 1935, in Braham, Minnesota, to Joseph and Ruth (Carlson)_Johnson. She was raised in Two Harbors where her parents owned and operated the Flood Bay Motel. She graduated from Two Harbors High School in 1953 and attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. While attending the Minnesota School of Business in Minneapolis Betty Jo met her future husband Donald Axelson. On October 8, 1955, Betty Jo and Don married at Lebanon Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and in 1957 they moved to Don’s hometown of Northfield. Betty Jo and Don owned and operated Axelson’s on the Square in Northfield. In 1976, Betty began working in the guidance office at Northfield High School, retiring in 1993. Don passed away on January 29, 2013. Betty Jo had been a resident of the Northfield Retirement Community since last September.
Betty Jo was a member of the United Methodist Church, church choir and at one time Bridge Club. She enjoyed following high school and U of M sports and especially enjoyed girls basketball and March Madness! She loved all things Scandinavian and was proud of her 100% Swedish heritage. Family was truly the center of her life and she always stayed very connected with her children and grandchildren.
Survivors include 3 children: Debra Blumer of Eagan, Laurie and husband Dave Amundson of Bloomington, Jay and wife Cheryl of Newport Beach, California; 7 grandchildren: Melissa and Ryan Willy and their children Sarah and Nicholas, Heather and Rick DeGree and their daughter Jocelyn, Emily and Erik Amundson, Grace, Sophia and Ava Axelson; 5 sisters-in-law: Janet (Tom) Pritchard of Northfield, Judy Johnson of West St. Paul, Bobbi Axelson of Bloomington, Carol Axelson of Chicago, Adelaide Axelson of Edina; her brother-in-law, Norman (Arlene) Axelson of Bloomington; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years Don, her parents, her brother Dick Johnson, her brothers-in-law Lawrence, Jim and Tom Axelson and beloved nephew Steve Johnson.
With her children by her side, Betty Jo passed away Sunday afternoon, March 30, 2014, at the Northfield Hospital, at the age of 78.
A celebration of Betty Jo’s life will be held at 11:00AM Friday, April 4, 2014, at the United Methodist Church in Northfield with Rev. Marty Raths officiating. Music will be provided by Carmen, Kimberly and Anna Jo Skwira, Tor Johnson and Donna Paulsen. A lunch reception will follow. Interment will be in Oaklawn Cemetery. Honorary pall bearers are her loving grandchildren. Visitation will be at the church on Friday one hour prior to the service.
Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com