Dorothy Johnson Martinson died on Tuesday, October 8th after the cancer she triumphed over in 2002 returned with a vengeance. She was born on February 3, 1937, to Clara Johnson. Her father, Eddie Johnson, died before she was born, so she was raised in Paynesville and Minneapolis by her widowed mother, grandmother, and four aunts. Surrounded by strong and independent women, she learned early the importance of resilience, trusting her own strength, and caring for others – lessons she later passed on to her own children. She married Bob Martinson in 1955, and they remained in Paynesville to farm and raise their family.
After Bob’s death in 1982, Dorothy earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Southwest State University and began playing golf, which became a favorite hobby. She played an integral role in the expansion of the Koronis Hills Golf Course, where she won a club championship and also recorded her first hole-in-one. Nordland Lutheran Church was her spiritual home; she was baptized and remained an active member her entire life, eventually becoming one of the matriarchs of her church family. Her faith was central to her identity, and she was generous with her time, talents, and love. She volunteered with multiple community causes; created countless quilts for friends, family, and those in need; and shared her gift of music throughout her life.
Dorothy is survived by five children: RaNae (Rick), Luke (Laura), Matthew (JoAnn), Katey (Pete), and Sara; as well as seven grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; her partner, Chuck Chesness; numerous nieces and nephews; and countless people who considered her a bonus mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, and friend. She will be missed, although she was looking forward to being reunited with her husband, mother, sisters, brother, and missing finger.
Arrangements: A celebration of Dorothy’s life and legacy will be held on Saturday, October 12th at 10:30 am with visitation on Friday, October 11th from 5-8 pm, both at Nordland Lutheran Church in rural Paynesville, Minnesota. In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to a charitable organization of your choice.
If you have a quilt that Dorothy made, we invite you to bring it to the funeral and hang it over the pews, as a visual reminder of the love she draped around so many of us.