December 13, 1921 - October 4, 2018
Lina Gustava Madsen began her life in the quaint village of Kvinnesdal, Norway in 1921, the second youngest of four children born to Ida and Oluf Madsen. In her adolescence, Lina was no stranger to adversity. As the great depression raged on, Lina left home at the tender age of fourteen when she moved to the city of Flekkefjord, Norway and began supporting herself by working in a butcher shop. Eventually, Lina applied to come to the United States and began working in New York City as an au pair caring for a wheelchair-bound woman and attending school at night to learn English. Lina later took a position with Chase bank in New York City where she worked until she married her husband, Leif Johansen.
Lina and Leif met on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend who would later become their daughter, Lorrene’s, Godfather. Lina married Leif in 1954 and became Mrs. Johansen. Lorrene was born in 1955 and Lina embraced the role of being a mother with passion. Her faith was the driving force behind her strong leadership qualities. Lina and Lorrene did fun things together. When Lorrene was three, they travelled trans-Atlantic by ocean liner to Norway where they spent the summer visiting family and friends. In 1969 Lina and Leif moved the family back to Norway, settling in Flekkefjord. Lina suffered a devastating loss when Leif passed away at the age of 50 in 1973 but, true to her nature, she forged on and re-entered the work world as the office manager of the local newspaper.
Lina would later have the privilege to become the proud and loving grandmother to three; Lee, Mark and Tyler Willmore. In 1980, Lina left Norway to join her daughter’s family in Houston, Texas where she selflessly devoted herself to the care of her family. Lina was the grandmother always seen pushing a stroller to the park or swimming pool and, later, the grandmother with her grandsons on the back of her bicycle. Of course, no trip to the park was complete without a snow cone. Lina provided many wonderful memories for her grandsons, including summer vacations at the beach, to Disney World, to New York City and even to Norway. Lina was creative when teaching her grandsons how to fish, providing them with a soda can, some fishing line and a couple of hooks. Lina always made sure her grandchildren knew they were loved; she left orange slices on the nightstand at bedtime, she provided fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning or after school and, during the winter, she gave them warm liquid jello, always a favorite. Lina found other ways to show her love, such as turning on the bedside lamp and turning down the bed. As she had done with her daughter, Lina walked her grandsons to elementary school and picked them up in the same manner.
Lina was the faith-driven backbone of the family who will be sorely missed by all. Heaven is, no doubt, an even better place now that it has embraced Lina.
Funeral: A celebration of life was held on 2018-10-12 at Darst Funeral Home. A reception will follow
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