Johnson, Jill Teresa

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Jill Teresa Johnson, 37, passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, January 20, 2013, at University Hospital in Columbia, Mo., surrounded by family members.

A resident of Rocheport, Mo., Jill was born on August 28, 1975, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. She spent her early years there and later made many happy memories, returning to visit her beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles, and many cousins.

Jill grew up in Christiansburg. From an early age, she was independent and artistic, and she loved animals and gardening. After graduating with a degree in agriculture from the University of Illinois, she soon found her calling in social work, earning a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

In 2000, Jill moved to sunny Boise, Idaho, where she began her career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, working in the area of mental health. She was passionate about helping others. One of her most rewarding experiences as a social worker was counseling children. Jill soon faced her biggest challenge, and her greatest opportunity to touch the lives of others, when she was diagnosed with advanced stage Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2003.

Jill was an inspiration to family, friends, and countless fellow patients as she battled the disease through a long course of treatment. She became passionately involved in patient advocacy and counseling, through numerous programs in Seattle, Wash., Boise, Idaho, and Columbia, Mo. She was deeply devoted to her work with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, including her involvement with the Team in Training program.

As she recovered from her third stem cell transplant, she returned to live in Columbia, Mo., in 2009 to be closer to the support of her family. Jill was a strong and spiritual woman. She was kind, expressive, thoughtful, and inspirational. Those who knew Jill, including her cousins, her friends, and the many people she touched during her illness, were all moved by her caring and positive spirit, and by her courage. Her happiest times were spent in the company of her family and her pets. She loved to travel, and especially to visit relatives in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw when her health permitted.

She is survived by her parents, Thomas and Sylvia Johnson, of Rocheport, Mo.; her brother, Harley and sister-in-law, Amy and her niece, Elise, and nephew, William, of Urbana, Ill.; her grandparents, Bill and Thelma Johnson, of Moose Jaw, SK; 16 aunts and uncles; and 22 cousins living in Saskatchewan and Alberta. She was preceded in death by her dear grandmother, Katherine Hnenny; and grandfather, Stephen Hnenny; aunt, Stephanie Hubick; and cousin, Ian Blue.

According to Jill’s wishes, a family memorial service will be held in Saskatchewan. Condolences may be left online by visiting Memorial contributions may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.