Denyse Ryan Johnson passed away on the afternoon of April 25, in Jamestown, North Dakota.
The daughter of Dennis and Augusta Ryan, Denyse grew up in south-central Washington state where she graduated from Sunnyside High School before earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Washington State University in 1957.
Denyse then moved to southern California, where she met her future husband, Joseph Johnson. They married in 1960 at the Naval Station Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay and remained married for almost 50 years, until his death in 2010.
Denyse and Joseph moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began raising their two sons, Sean and Patrick. She was a teacher at Wells Middle School in Dublin. In the 1970s, the family moved to Defiance, Ohio, and then to Independence, Missouri. During this time Denyse earned an M.S. in School Administration and Supervision, Specialist in Art Education, from California State University, Hayward. She also taught art and was a fiber artist — exhibiting original fiber compositions and selling art and commissions to clients in Kansas City and throughout the Midwest.
In the 1980s, Denyse established and developed The Source Fine Arts, a fine art gallery in Kansas City located on Westport Road that represented regional, national and internationally acclaimed artists. She was also active in several organizations including the Design Exchange, the Vanderslice Committee, the American Crafts Council, Missouri Fiber Artists and the Kansas City Artists Coalition.
Denyse and Joseph moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 2005, where Denyse was active with the Morning Star United Methodist Church, the AAUW and the Girl Scouts. She then moved to Jamestown, North Dakota, in 2018, where she continued to create art and was an active member of the First United Methodist Church.
Denyse was a passionate, creative, independent and generous person who was always concerned about the welfare of those less fortunate than her. She enjoyed reading biographies, keeping up with politics and was an avid gardener. She will be remembered as a loving and caring wife, mother and aunt, who was always willing to listen and provide guidance.
Denyse is preceded in death by her husband Joseph, and is survived by her sister Reta of Broomfield Colorado, her son Sean and daughter in law Marcia and grandson Ian of Newberry, South Carolina and son Patrick of Longmont, Colorado, and nieces, Lynne and Susanne.
The family is grateful for the loving care provided by the staffs at Edgewood, Ave Maria and JRMC Hospice in Jamestown.
A memorial service for Denyse will be held later this spring.
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