Carolyn Johnsen

Obituary of Carolyn R. Johnsen

Carolyn R. Johnsen, age 79, of Bloomington, Indiana passed away on Thursday, April 16, 2020 of pneumonia caused by COVID-19.

Carolyn was a strong, capable woman with a one-in-a-million personality. She loved people and they loved her. She could talk with anyone. She said she hated “politics” but she relished countless battles taking on “the establishment,” especially in tireless efforts to improve the public schools.

Carolyn was always proud of her Brooklyn roots and personified the phrase “you can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl.” Donald Johnsen, the great love of her life, and she did move an hour out of the city, to Carle Place, Long Island, to raise their family.

Carolyn and Don, her husband of 43 years, devoted their lives to loving and raising their four kids, in whom they instilled a deep sense of dedication to family and a respect for the importance of education. They also shared their boundless love with extended family, friends and neighbors, and were always ready to lend a hand or do whatever it took. Their modest Carle Place home was dubbed “Camp Carolyn” and, although money was often tight, it was filled with song, games, conversation, food, life, passion, happiness and love. Carolyn had a beautiful singing voice and inspired in her children a love of musicals, old movies and family singalongs.

Before his passing in 2004, Don and Carolyn enjoyed many happy visits with family, and spending time with their friends at the Carle Place Seniors. For the last seven years, Carolyn enjoyed her time living at Bell Trace in Bloomington, where she was closer to some of her grandchildren. She took great pride and joy in seeing all four grandkids grow into wonderful young people, and they all took great care of their grandma. It was a special joy for her to know each of them so well and for each of them to experience her strong love and zest for life.

Carolyn was born in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, on Feb. 2, 1941, to parents Edward and Ruth Dalland, immigrants from Norway and Germany. She graduated from Bay Ridge High School. She is deeply missed by many, including her children and their families, Dawn Johnsen, John Hamilton, Matthew Hamilton Johnsen, Eric Hamilton Johnsen, Richard Johnsen, Ling Chen, Kyle Johnsen, Maggie Johnsen, Beverly Andracchi, Jill Johnsen, Sue Todd, Jennifer Johnsen and Dawn Guarriello, as well as by her siblings, Geraldine Vastano, Edward Dalland, Diana Cacciola, and Julie Vastano.


The family welcomes contributions to the World Health Organization, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research, or another charity of choice. A memorial celebration may take place later when gatherings are again appropriate.

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