Inez Evelyn Saari was born on December 6th, 1928 on the family farm NE of Perth, ND. She was the youngest of four children born to Matt & Mary Saari. She attended school at Monroe School, attended high school in Rolla, and graduated in 1946. She met her future husband, Merrill Johnson at the dance hall in Mylo. He was the drummer in Pete Edwardson’s band. They were married in March of 1948. They moved to his family’s farmstead northeast of Bisbee where they farmed for 53 years, raising small grains and beef cattle. Together they raised three sons, Vaughn, Keith, and Paul. Inez loved animals and she had many pets over her lifetime. She told many stories about her little dog Nikki. Inez enjoyed any type of work outside from cultivating, hauling grain during harvest, to burning flax straw. She was famous in the family for her “Norman the Foreman” hat. She also enjoyed planting a huge garden and canning vegetables. Merrill and Inez traveled many places together with their friends and she often talked about Texas and Branson, MO as her favorites. She was an active member of the Bisbee Curling Club and competed in various towns and up into Canada with her curling team-Delores Geisen, Edna Anderson, and Sylvia Schmidt. They won many awards together. Inez was very proud of her Finn heritage. She often talked Finn to her best friend, Doris Larson while they enjoyed a cup of coffee together and the kids tried to listen in on their conversation. Merrill and Inez also enjoyed playing cards with family and friends. When they played rummy against the grandkids, the loser had to do the dishes.
She was a lifetime member of Bisbee Lutheran Church where she was involved in adult Bible study, Ladies Aid, and taught Sunday school. She was also an avid member of the Towner County American Cancer Society. Most of all, she loved her grandchildren. Ask anyone who knew her-she would tell you about her grandkids. They were her pride and joy. She loved baking all their favorites from caramel rolls to chocolate chip bars and she always had a full candy drawer. She was also known for her apple pie, which was truly a work of art.
Merrill passed away in 2001 and Inez continued to live on the farm until 2008 when she moved to ParkView Assisted Living in Rolla. She especially enjoyed her time there. She moved to the Towner County Living Center in October of 2021. The family would like to thank the staff of both ParkView and TCLC for their great care.
Inez is survived by her three sons, Vaughn (Valarie) Johnson of Perth, Keith Johnson of Henning, MN, and Paul Johnson of Bisbee; six grandchildren Aaron (Kjellan) Johnson of Moorhead, MN; Megan (Matt) Odermann of Perth; Matt Johnson of Bagley, MN; Katie (Chase) Johansen of Moorhead, MN; Dominik and Allia Johnson of Bisbee; eight great grandchildren Grant, Avery, Addison, Levi, Ally, Declan, Zoe, and Quinn. Inez was preceded in death by her husband, Merrill Johnson; daughter-in-law Bonnie Johnson; siblings Edwin Saari, I. Marian Cook, and Arne Saari; great-grandchildren Wyatt & Audra Johnson.