Berthajean Mary (Baldauf) Johnson

Berthajean Mary (Baldauf) Johnson

September 8, 1930 – August 26, 2023

Berthajean Mary (Baldauf) Johnson was born September 8, 1930, at home in Hay Springs, Nebraska, to Joseph Baldauf and Mabel Opal (Fisher) Baldauf. She passed away August 26, 2023, in Omaha, NE, at the age of 92 years, 11 months, and 18 days.

The Celebration of Life for the former Sheridan County Resident will be held September 23, 2023, 2 p.m., at the West Center Chapel, 7805 W Center Rd., Omaha, NE.  An additional

celebration will be held in July 2024, in Rushville, NE. She will be laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery, Rushville, NE.

Berthajean’s name on her birth certificate was Mabel Joann.  Her name was quickly changed when her grandmother, Bertha Augusta Garska Fisher Felhahn, insisted her name be changed to Bertha since she shared her grandmother’s birthdate. Berthajean had several nicknames; her family called her “Babe”, and she usually went by “BJ” to friends and co-workers. Refusing to be called Bertha, she insisted on her full name, Berthajean, as she was the “one and only Berthajean.”

Berthajean attended Grade School in Clinton, NE, and graduated High School in Rushville, NE in 1948. She earned her Normal Teaching Certification in high school. She taught in rural schools in Sheridan County and Gallatin County, Montana.  She graduated from Chadron State College with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a specialization in Library Science, aka School Librarian.

Berthajean Baldauf and Theodore Parker Johnson were united in marriage February 28, 1948, in Rushville, Nebraska. They quickly moved to Montana where they resided until 1964. Berthajean always said they would come back home to Nebraska, they resided in Chadron, North Platte, Hay Springs, and Lincoln, NE,  Council Bluffs, IA and finally ending their journeys in Omaha, Nebraska.

Berthajean spent the majority of her life teaching in a variety of schools including Anceny Rural School in Montana. She loved teaching. She taught at St. Mary’s and Pius X High School in Lincoln, Nebraska. She loved her gardens and could often be found beautifying her flower beds. Berthajean loved music. She could play the piano well and wanted to learn to play stringed instruments. She often sang to and with her children. She especially loved the songs of the 1940s and 1950s.  One of her favorite songs was “She’ll be coming ‘round the Mountain.” Hi Babe!

She loved spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  She loved birthdays, celebrations, parades, and attended them all with and for her family. Grandma BJ had many adventures with her grandchildren.  Even in her later years, she loved seeing photos of  them and smiled in recognition of her grands.

Berthajean was a special mom, grandma, great-grandma, and great-great-grandma.  She loved to play; she could be found winding up all the music boxes in the store.  She loved to read and would read everything in sight.  She would often read the script on T-shirts and ask the wearer what it meant.  She loved to read and write poetry as well. Much to her children’s delight she wrote and told several children’s stories. Our favorites were the Goody stories and the Topsy stories.

She had a sweet tooth She enjoyed eating ice cream, cookies, sweet cereal, mini marshmallows, chocolate, watermelon, strawberries (with sugar), cake etc. She also enjoyed pizza.

Berthajean was preceded in death by her parents, Joe, and Mabel Baldauf; husband, Theodore Parker Johnson; brothers, Boyd, and Dan Baldauf; sisters, Lavon Schwarting and Marjorie Williams; daughter, Martha Jean; son, Theodore August Johnson.

Survivors cherishing her memory include her children: Erik Johnson (Cathy) of Lincoln, NE, Kathryn Johnson Nokes (Paul) of Manhattan, MT, Annmarie Johnson Schultz (Ken) and Mary Jo Johnson Mollner (Bob)  both of Omaha, NE, Gary Johnson (Vickie) Pullman of WA; grandchildren: William, Wendy, Kerri, Josh, Katie, Randy, Scott, Kristin, Abra, Elanni, Jerry, Jason, Cassandra; great-grandchildren: Madison, Aydan, Jamie, Jordan, Jeremy, Jordan, Tyler, Parker, Roberta, Anastasia, Kortney, Autumn, Corbin, Sutherland, Weston,  Zealand, Preston, Kaiden, Liam, Kenzie, Jackson,  Chance and Justice; great-great-grandchildren: Amelia, Adelaide, and Guinevere; sisters, Josemay “Jo” Anderson (Don), and Mabelmarie  “Marie”Datus (Gary); many nieces and nephews; numerous other relatives and friends (especially Audrey).

She had several sayings she could often be heard saying to her children and grandchildren. Berthajean reminded us all, very often, “you have a choice to be kind”, “even if you don’t enjoy the company of a certain person, you can be polite”, and she also would say “that’s enough.”




MEMORIAL SERVICE: Saturday, September 23rd at 2pm at the West Center Chapel.  Interment, Fairview Cemetery in Rushville, NE.

To view a live broadcast of the Service, please visit and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.




  • M.marie (Baldauf) and Gary Datus Posted September 16, 2023 6:37 pm

    Our inspirational sister will be missed. Our love goes to all family as we remember the special who did bring kindness to all.

  • Audrey Pleiss Posted September 17, 2023 12:02 pm

    My deepest sympathy for your loss. Please let me know if I can help. I am just a phone call or text away.

  • Audrey Pleiss Posted September 17, 2023 12:03 pm

    My deepest sympathy for your loss

  • Kate & John Ruckman Posted September 18, 2023 8:04 pm

    She was a good person. She was more like a friend to me

  • Pamela Eggers Posted September 24, 2023 9:10 am

    So sorry for your loss Mary and family .

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