Funeral services for Lila Lee Johnston were held on Friday, May 31, 2024, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Henning, with Pastor Keith Lankford officiating. Congregational hymns were accompanied by Carleen Markuson. Special music was provided by Keith Johnson and Gail Guse.

Lila Lee (Aves) Johnston, age 95, passed away on May 24, 2024, at Perham Living, Perham.

Lila Lee Aves was born on June 25, 1928, to Lyell and Marie (Hennies) Aves in Freeborn County, Minn. The family later moved to Mason City, Iowa, where Lila attended school. Growing up in a large family during the Depression, Lila often helped care for her siblings while both parents worked.

The life lessons she learned at home proved beneficial as she and her husband, Robert (Bob) Johnston, raised their children. Lila always had a large garden and raised chickens. She spent countless hours canning vegetables and fruits, freezing chickens, and baking homemade bread. Teaching her children to be good humans was her main objective.

We fondly remember Mom’s feisty sense of humor and quick wit. Some of her memorable sayings include, “You can lie to me, but you can’t lie to Jesus,” and “Diets should begin every Monday, the first day of every month, and the day after every major holiday.” In later years, when dining out, Lila preferred to share a sandwich but never her bottle of beer.

We feel Mom’s best years were spent living on Douglas Avenue, next to her church. She attended church services and actively participated in circles, bible studies, and volunteering—often sharing her opinions whether solicited or not. Her faith sustained her through both challenging and joyous times. She enjoyed bird watching from her kitchen window, especially observing the Chickadees, which she thought looked like they were wearing little tuxedos. Mom loved the sun, going barefoot, and sharing her beautiful flowers with visitors.

Attending programs, concerts, and sporting events involving her grandchildren and great-grandchildren kept Mom young. Her home was always open, and she was ready to lend an ear or share a chocolate chip cookie. Lila hugs will be missed by many.

Lila is survived by her seven children: Cindy (Jim) Dilly, Tommy (Diann) Johnston, Bobbi Otis (Carson Byram), Polly (Allen) Moerke, Kelly (Steven) Ellenson, Sally (Scott) Fraki, and Sarah (Brian) Ebeling. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Jessica, Luke, Clay, and Derek Dilly; Tyler Johnston and Heather Mayfield; Levi Otis, Ashley Reierson and Billy Otis; Emily Schmitt and Ryan Huntley; Marty Ellenson and Katy Ellenson, Mallory Loock and Mitch Ellenson; Megan Jeno and Hannah Fraki; Andrew, Cort, and Thomas Ebeling; and 29 great-grandchildren, along with additional bonus family members she wrapped her love around.  She is also survived by her siblings: Jeannette Galligan, Linda Dahle-Melsaether, Sue Aves, and Rick Aves; sisters-in-law Mary Aves and Deb McCarthur; brother-in-law Roger Clagett; and many nieces and nephews.

Lila was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Robert Johnston; her brothers, LaVerne Aves and his wife Arline, Ray Aves, and Bob Aves; her sisters, LaVonne Clagett, Shirley Wohler and her husband Gerald, Donna Olson and her husband Ray; and brothers-in-law, Harold Galligan and Ozzie Dahle-Melsaether.

The family would like to thank the wonderful staff and Chaplain McKay at Perham Living for their loving care of our mom, Lila Johnston. She considered many of you her friends. We would also like to thank Pastor Keith Lankford for his comforting visits, along with the many friends who took time to visit these past few years.

Please visit to leave memorials and condolences on Lila’s Tribute Wall.

Arrangements provided by Belmont-Karvonen Funeral & Cremation Service of Henning.