VIRGINIA ANNETTE MCGOWAN JONSON
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1930 - 2020
Virginia Annette McGowan Jonson was born in Geneva, Alabama, on April 8, 1930, to James and Jennie (Johnson) McGowan. She joined her beloved husband Carl on August 15, 2020.
A child of the Depression, Annette was the sixth of six children. Her father died when she was four, and when she was old enough, she joined her siblings in helping to support the family. She worked in the family’s Geneva Cafe, and later picked cotton.
World War II found the family in Panama City, Florida, where one of her brothers worked in the shipyards. Annette spent her junior high years here, where she developed her lifelong love of beaches.
After the war, the family returned to Geneva, where Annette attended Geneva High School, working at the town’s theater on weekends and after school. After graduating in 1948, she worked for the phone company as a switchboard operator. It was here that she met Carl Raymond Jonson, who was stationed at nearby Fort Rucker Army Post. Every week, he would call his mother back in Colorado through Annette’s switchboard, and the two of them struck up a friendship that developed into a love story. After he was transferred to Sparta, Wisconsin, he mailed her engagement ring to her, and they were subsequently married on June 6, 1951, in Sparta, where Annette saw her first snow and discovered her love of northern winters.
After discharge from the service, Annette and Carl lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Denver, Colorado. Annette worked for Montgomery Ward and learned to drive. She remembered loading her young daughters into the car (front seat—no seatbelts!) and driving up and down Colfax to practice. When Carl completed his training for the Colorado State Patrol in 1958, they moved to Wray, Colorado, and then to Yuma, Colorado, in 1959. They raised their three daughters, Carla Dean, Kathy Rae, and Jennifer Lea, in Yuma.
Annette continued to work in retail for much of her life. She decorated the windows for JC Penney in Yuma, a job she loved. She also worked for Snedeker’s, Denim and Lace, the Yuma Shoe Store, and other Yuma shops, as well as the Yuma nursing home and dry cleaners. She was active in Eastern Star, Okihi Club, and Extension Club. She served several times as election judge for Yuma County. Annette was a member of the Yuma United Methodist Church.
Carl passed away in 1985. In 1992 Annette moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and then in 1993 to Johnson City, Tennessee, to spend time with her daughters, Jennifer and Kathy. While there, she worked for Sears and as a hospital volunteer and developed new and lasting friendships.
Annette moved back to Yuma in 1998 to retire. There she renewed lifelong friendships, especially enjoying Swimmin’ Women, coffee with the girls, church, and walking her dogs. She volunteered for Meals on Wheels and served on the hospital auxiliary board.
In 2012, Annette moved to Windsor, Colorado, to live close to her daughter, Carla. She enjoyed taking part in family events, including dance recitals and basketball games in Denver and Monument, and holidays. Throughout her life, Annette found joy in her daughters, dogs, ice cream, beaches, family, swimming, Dr. Pepper, horses, piano music, visiting with friends and family, coffee, black jelly beans, and soap operas.
Annette was preceded in death by her husband Carl; an infant son; her parents James and Jennie McGowan; brothers Ted, Earl and Leonard; and sisters Bernice and Elsie.
Left to grieve her passing are daughters Carla (JC) Moore, Windsor, Colorado; Kathy (Tom) Berry, Piney Flats, Tennessee; and Jennifer (Mark) Jonson-Jones, Monument, Colorado; grandchildren Marna (CJ) Moore-Barr, Templeton, California; Robert (Caryn) Moore, Deephaven, Minnesota; Matthew (Allison) Berry, Johnson City, Tennessee; and Addison, Brady, and Carter Jones, Monument, Colorado; and great-grandchildren Porter and Teagan Barr, Templeton, California; and Penelope and Rosemary Moore, Deephaven, Minnesota; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Arrangements are being made by Northern Colorado Crematory, 700 Eighth Street, Greeley, CO 80631, www.ncccremation.com. A Celebration of Life is being planned in Yuma for summer 2021, hopefully post-COVID-19, so that her far-flung family may join us.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society of your choice, the Humane Society of the United States, www.humanesociety.org, or Yuma Meals on Wheels.