Ruth Wolfe Johnson

Ruth Wolfe Johnson, 86, died Thursday, March 21, 2019.

Ruth was born Jan. 23, 1933 in a small farm house in Sullivan County near Dugger. She was the last in a line of eight children of Ora and Ann Wolfe. Dugger was coal-mining country, and her father, Ora, worked the mines. She grew up on a farm with no running water, but which overflowed with family care and love.

Ruth attended Indiana State at Terre Haute and afterward went to work at Shell Oil Company where she met and later married Dick Johnson, who had purchased a small Shell distributor- ship in Columbus. The two went on to work together to grow Johnson Oil Company over many years.

As a woman of strong faith, she and Dick were part of a small group that co-founded Fairlawn Presbyterian Church in 1961, where she continued as a lifelong member. Ruth was also active in her community through many social organizations like PEO, Harrison Lake Garden Club and Monday literary club.

Ruth was generous in many ways; she was an outstanding cook and was quick to deliver a meal to a family suffering a loss. She and Dick also supported numerous community organizations in Columbus and Indiana. They donated the real estate for the Salvation Army to build a support center, sponsored the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship at I.U., the Johnson Distinguished Guest Artist series at the Columbus Philharmonic, and publication of “The Birds of Indiana” by Bill Zimmer- man.

Ruth actively supported and served Indiana University on the advisory board for the School of Arts and Sciences and Ja- cobs School of Music. She also directly provided funds to support higher education for those with need. Most recently, Ruth led the Johnson family in a major gift to Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, where she received outstanding care in her final days.

Ruth is survived byher children, Jenny Johnson of Nashville, Rick Johnson (Alice) of Columbus; two grandchildren, Richard “Ricky” Loomis Johnson III and Ann “Annie” Elizabeth Johnson; her beloved cat, “Rosemary”; and her granddog, “Josie.” All her family and friends join in deep gratitude for having been a part of her distinguished life.

Ruth Wolfe Johnson visitation: 4 to 8 p.m.,Thursday, March 28, at Myers-Reed Chapel, 3729 25th St., Columbus; and at 10 a.m. Friday, March 29, with service following at 11 a.m., both in Nashville United Methodist Church, 36 S. Jefferson St.

Memorials may be made to The Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County; or to the Brown County Community Foundation.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

Myers-Reed Chapel is serving the Johnson family.

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