Nancy Brown Johnson

Oct. 1, 1930 – April 21, 2014


Nancy Brown Johnson was born Oct. 1, 1930, in Fargo, N.D., to C.W. and Connie Brown. She died April 21, 2014, surrounded by her loving family. Nancy grew up in Oconomowoc and attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where she met her husband, Jim Johnson, in their first class in the speech school.

Nancy was a hilarious comedian, starring in the Northwestern Wa-Mu show, a revue famous for its graduates who go on to success in the theater, movies and television. After her freshman performance, she appeared on national TV in the Dave Garroway show and was signed to a contract with Music Corp. of America at the age of 18.

Instead of show business, she married Jim on graduation day and spent four years following him about the Marine Corps bases. When he was discharged, they moved to Boulder, Colo., for law school and 2 1/2 years later arrived in Fort Collins, Colo., in February 1959.

During the early years in Fort Collins, she directed and appeared in children’s theater, doing readings in schools, and acting in theater productions like “The Sound of Music,” “The Music Man,” “40 Days and 40 Nights,” and others. The Johnsons spent eight years in Washington, D.C., from 1973 to 1981. While there, Nancy was the solo performer at the bipartisan party given by the House of Representatives honoring Lindy Boggs on her 60th birthday.

Nancy is survived by her husband, Jim; daughter Dea Carlson, son-in-law Woody Carlson, daughter Julie Cagle, son Drake Johnson, daughter-in-law Christy Johnson, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

She was preceded in death by her parents and by brothers Bruce and Bart Brown, former owners of the Oconomowoc Enterprise.

Lately, Nancy’s memory was failing. Her response was, “I’m losing my mind and it’s driving me crazy!” She will always remain in our laughing, loving memory.

Private services have been held.