Obituary of Mary Louise Johansen
Mary Lou (Diddy) Kringel Johansen returned to her heavenly father on June 7, 2022. Mary Lou was born on December 20, 1927 in Iowa City to Carl (Chris) and Coralie (Cuber) Kringel. Mary Lou received her nickname, Diddy, when she was an infant. Her older brother Bob’s attempt to say sister came out as Diddy, and the name stuck. She and Bob were raised during the Depression but fared well because their father owned Security Abstract Company. They always had food to eat and a house to live in. Mary Lou attended Longfellow School and graduated from City High School in Iowa City in 1946. She was a talented pianist and taught piano while still in high school. Mary Lou attended the University of Iowa to study music, ultimately changing to commerce. Mary Lou was initiated into Zeta Tau Alpha sorority on May 17, 1947 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce in 1950. Seeking adventure, she moved to Chicago and worked for the Northern Trust Company. Although she had great fun living and working in the big city, Mary Lou decided to return home to Iowa City. There she got a job working for President Hancher of the University of Iowa. She met Walter Johansen while he was studying Civil Engineering at the University. They were married on December 31, 1955. They moved to Wood River, Illinois and then to Champaign, Illinois where Walter worked for Daily and Associates Engineers. Mary Lou continued to teach piano until she got too involved with her own family. After her children were mostly grown, she became the secretary of the Urbana First United Methodist Church, retiring in 1992. Mary Lou was a past Worthy High Priestess of the White Shrine of Jerusalem and a Past Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star. She sang in the Champaign Sweet Adeline Chorus. She was an active member of and a Sunday School teacher at the Urbana First United Methodist Church. Mary Lou and Walt moved back to Iowa City after retirement and bought a house in Mary Lou’s old neighborhood, the historic Longfellow School district. After having a massive stroke in 2000, Mary Lou fought her way back to walking but was no longer able to play her beloved piano. She loved being a part of the Stroke Club and keeping her muscles strong with water therapy. As Walt’s health declined, they decided to move to Davenport, Iowa, to be near their daughter. Mary Lou moved into Garner Place Independent Living after Walt’s death, where she met many new friends and had great fun. Later, she moved to Silvercrest Assisted Living, and finally moved in with her daughter Christina for the last three years of her life. She is survived by daughter, Patricia Johansen, Pastor of Quincy United Methodist Church, and her husband Mike Crawford and grandchildren Kara and Mark (Andrea) and great-grandson Levi; a son David Johansen, Professor of Trombone at Southeastern Louisiana University, his wife Janiece Luedeke Johansen, and grandson Ethan; daughter Christina Johansen Kastell, Putnam Museum Curator, Davenport. She leaves the world a better place by inspiring many stroke survivors, with the music she brought into the lives of many people and by her kindness as a representative of the United Methodist Church. Memorial graveside services will be August 1 at 10 AM at Oakland Cemetery and are open to family and friends. To share a thought, memory or condolence with her family please visit Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service website @ www.gayandciha.com.