Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cyrena Mae Starr Johnson, 72 of Joplin, passed away at 5:50 a.m. on Thursday, June 16, 2011, at Freeman West Hospital Emergency Room.

Born Nov. 12, 1938, in Phillipsburg, Kan., she was the daughter of the late Hugh and Marie Merklein Starr. She moved to North Kansas City, and then to Cassville in 1968. She has lived in Joplin since 1987. After graduating from high school, she attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., and later took classes at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. She and her husband owned and operated Chrysler Corral in Cassville from 1968 to 1986. She was of the Presbyterian faith.

On June 8, 1958, she married Eldon Johnson in Phillipsburg, Kan. He preceded her in death on Dec. 7, 1986. She was also preceded in death by a son, Anthony Johnson in 1973; and two brothers, Kenneth and Rolland Starr.

Survivors include: a son, Jeff Johnson and wife, Patti, of Joplin; their children, Drew and Lauren Johnson; a son, Curtis Johnson and wife Stacy of Monett.; their children, Peighton and Austin Johnson; a brother, Merle Starr and his wife, Pat, of Hutchinson, Kan.; a sister, Evie Sheets and husband, Scott, of Topeka, Kan.; a brother-in-law, Lowell Johnson and wife, Judy, of Larkspur, Colo.; best friends, Penny Purdy and husband Bob, of Neosho, and Eilene Mitchell and husband, Dale, of Joplin.

She loved to travel and spend time with her good friends (The Blue Haired Mafia). She especially enjoyed going on cruises, playing cards and visits to the casino. She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and was so very proud of their accomplishments.

She was a very strong woman. She was diagnosed with cancer on May 2 and then survived the tornado on May 22, riding it out in her bathtub, as her home disintegrated around her.