‘HOOSIERS WE’VE LOST’: Couple in nursing care separated by COVID-19

Editor’s note: This is one of a continuing online series of profiles of the more than 12,000 Hoosiers who have died from COVID-19. The stories are from 12 Indiana newspapers, including The Republic, who collaborated to create the collection to highlight the tremendous loss that the pandemic has created. The series appears daily at therepublic.com.

Name: Virgil Johnson

City/Town: Franklin

Age: 94

Died: Nov. 26

In sickness and in health, the Johnsons stood together to meet all of life’s challenges for 70 years.

They weathered strokes and bouts with cancer. It took a deadly virus to separate them.

Norma Johnson, 90, of Franklin, lived at Homeview Health and Rehabilitation Center with her husband, Virgil Johnson, 94, for the last three years. They are two of the Homeview residents who caught COVID-19 after the virus forced its way into the facility in October.

Norma Johnson fought off the virus, but Virgil wasn’t so lucky, succumbing to it dying from it on Thanksgiving Day. He had stood strong by her side through her sicknesses, so she did the same for him as he fought for his life, she said.

The virus was tough to beat, but losing her husband and not being able to see her family during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been even tougher, Johnson said.

Still, Johnson was grateful that Homeview took so many precautions to keep the virus at bay for so long to avoid more losses like hers, she said.

Over the years, the couple lived in Warren, Pennsylvania, Falconer, New York, and Belleview, Florida, before moving to Whiteland about 20 years ago to be close to their daughters, Sandra Johnson and Luann Carlson, and grandchildren who had settled in Greenwood.

Virgil Johnson enjoyed collecting tools and took pride in his antique collection. Earlier in life, he spent his spare time beautifying their yard.

He also served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was honorably discharged.

“He was a World War II veteran. He said, ‘I survived that, but I can’t survive this,’” Johnson said.

He will be cherished and remembered forever by his two children; grandson Michael Carlson; and his great-grandson, Kash Carlson.

— Contributed by the Daily Journal in Franklin