Catherine Johnson Obituary - Cowsmo

Catherine Johnson Obituary

Everyone at Cowsmo would like to send our deepest thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Catherine. 

Catherine Jean Johnson, 73, passed away on Thursday, May 28, 2020, in her precious “Sweet House” on Covered Bridge Road in Unadilla.

She was born on Aug. 2, 1946, in Deposit, the daughter of William and Grace (Wagner) Gifford.

She graduated from Deposit Central School in 1964 and completed three years at Brockport State University, majoring in physical education. Cathy married her forever love, David Johnson, on June 24, 1967, in Deposit. They shared 52 years together, most of it farming in Unadilla and raising their seven children.

She was instrumental in the development of the Joleanna Holsteins registered herd and the formation of Covered Bridge Farm Market, both of which are now carried on by two of her sons and their families. In her gardens, Cathy cultivated endless flowers, vegetables and memories. She had an appreciation for the fertile ground and beauty that swept the landscape with each changing season as she tilled the soil, sowed the seeds, pulled the weeds and harvested a bounty of produce. She took pride in her well-tended blooms in her flowerbeds and the freezers and jars full of vegetables and preserves that resulted from her family’s efforts.

We know she will enjoy the peace and fulfillment of praying in God’s gardens. With each turn of the plow and bouquet on the kitchen table, we will remember her. Cathy’s kitchen was the heart of her home. Family meals were important to her and always prepared with homegrown ingredients. It was around the supper table that thanks were offered for the blessings of farm, family and the day’s events were recapped or future plans discussed.
She often invited family and friends for dinner, coffee or pie.

Cathy and Dave (Grammie and Gramps) hosted larger holiday celebrations with their seven children, spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in their gathering room, an addition to their home that comfortably seats 50 people. As of the year 2019, Thanksgiving dinner attendance was more than 40. She loved cooking for large groups and was devoted to organizing her church family work bees before fundraising dinners. Her cooking brought nourishment, fellowship and fun. It truly was what she saw as a way she could help bring people together.
As she called herself, a “Red Barn Woman,” a great deal of Cathy’s pride lived in the barns at Joleanna Holsteins. Her love for the registered Holstein cow was in her blood and she passed that love down to her children. Whether they were at a county fair, state fair, a national show or just practicing in circles around the driveway, Cathy was there, being their number one fan, encouraging coach and keen judge. There is no doubt she loved the Holstein cow, but even greater was her pride in seeing her children carry on that tradition.

Cathy will be remembered by many as a staunch supporter of agriculture and the dairy industry. For more than 40 years, she annually hosted many kindergarten classes to her farm stand to educate them about vegetables, their value and how they grow.

She also was the proud mother of three Delaware County dairy princesses and one New York State dairy princess.
Cathy is survived by her husband, Dave; mother, Grace Gifford of Oneonta; and seven children and their families, Shari Johnson-Ploutz (Fred), Justin, Megan, Gialina, and Adriana of Oneonta; Kelli Morgan (Bill), Jacob, Rachel, and Jessica of Union Springs; Marc Johnson (Nikki), Dalton, Dakota, Dani and Dalani of Guilford; Luke Johnson (Janette), Braeden and Xander of Unadilla; Joshua Johnson (Karli), Cole, Owen and Willa of Otego; Derek Johnson (Erin), Logan, Bailey and Sadie of Unadilla; and Kathryn Hitt (Diesel), Lane, Emma, Tori and Levi of Adams Center.

Also surviving are two sisters, Judith Robertson (Richard) of Trumansburg, Patricia Gifford of Groton; and brother, Clayton Gifford (Sandra) of Deposit. Several nieces and nephews also survive.
In addition to being survived by 23 loving grandchildren (listed above), Catherine leaves behind four great-grandchildren.

She greatly enjoyed watching all of them play sports, dance, perform musicals, show registered Holsteins and work along side their parents on their own farms.

She was predeceased by her father and brother, Richard Gifford of Deposit.

The Johnson family conveys special gratitude to the oncology department at Bassett Healthcare, Helios Care of Oneonta and her beloved church family for their love and compassion during the last nine months. It has been because of your expert care and support that Cathy was able to continue to host family holidays and church functions during her illness.

Calling hours will be private, as will burial in Evergreen Hill Cemetery, Unadilla, in the Johnson family plot, officiated by the Rev. Lynn Shepard.

Memorial donations in Cathy’s name may be sent to Unadilla First Presbyterian Church, Box Z, Unadilla, NY 13849, to fund the construction of a stained glass window in her honor, where she was a devoted member and spent many hours preparing food for church fundraising dinners.

A celebration of Cathy’s life and window dedication will be held at the First Presbyterian Church at a later date, with the Rev. Paul E.C. Hamilton officiating.

Condolences and memories may be shared with the family online here.

Arrangements are under the direction of C.H. Landers Funeral Chapel, Sidney.

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