Sonja E. Johansen

Sonja Johansen, age 81, of Valley City, died Tuesday, December 4th at the Sheyenne Care Center in Valley City. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, December 8th at Faith Lutheran Church in Valley City. Visitation will be held one hour before the service at the church on Saturday afternoon. Inurnment will be in the Hope City Cemetery, Hope, ND.
Sonja Evelyn Friestad, the daughter of Martin and Marie Friestad, was born September 13, 1931 at her home in Valley City. She was delivered by Dr. Van Houten. Sonja was baptized at the old Wesley Methodist Church in Valley City. Sonja attended grade school at the old Lincoln School and graduated from Valley City High School. Sonja worked at Valley Drug in Valley City. She started working there when she was 16 years old and worked while attending High School. One of her fondest memories was putting on an extra scoop of ice cream for a certain college student that was very handsome. She was a junior in high school, so it was the good ice cream, not the gal that got his attention. During her junior and senior year of high school, Sonja was Head Majorette. Her mother was not happy when she practiced twirling and throws in the living room and broke the ceiling light.  Sonja then began working full time at Valley Drug. Sonja noticed that a certain very handsome fellow who had been taking winter classes at Valley City State University started more often. He came more often on Saturday nights and always with a couple of buddies. Chris asked her if she was going to the Senior Prom, but she was having her tonsils out the day after and had to decline. When the night of the prom came, Sonja decided to work as she was not feeling well after her surgery. When she walked out after work, there was Chris sitting in a new car and asked her for a ride. Sonja was extremely excited that this Chris, from Hope, ND had asked her to be the first one to sit in his new car. Especially after putting all of the extra ice cream in all of his chocolate malted milk shakes. That fall, Sonja took a bus to Wahpeton, ND and enrolled in a two year secretarial course at Wahpeton College. During this time she and another girl lived with a family in Wahpeton while attending classes. In October 1949, her name was put in for a Homecoming Queen Canidate, and the surprise of all surprises, she won! The auto mechanic guys had really put up a good campaign for her. She took a chance and asked Chris to accompany her to the dance, but was only able to dance with him three times that evening. In December after Christmas, two girls and Sonja were called to the office at the College. Sonja was extremely relieved to find out it was for a job offer doing dictation and answering the telephone at St. Lukes Hospital in Fargo, ND.  She started the next week and was given full credit for her on the job work experience. She and her roommate Althea were lucky to find apartments so close to work as neither one of them had cars. The next summer, Sonja had a chance to work as a secretary for the City of Valley City in the Auditors office. Sonja and Chris planned to be married that fall. When the couple went get their marriage license Sonja was shocked to learn Chris’ full name, Anton Stanley Johnson. He was named after his favorite uncle Anton, he went by Stanley and all of his buddies gave him the nickname Chris. Sonja and her family always addressed the couple as Mr. and Mrs. Chris Johansen and his family as Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Johansen. Later in life Sonja was invited to return to Wahpeton Science as a past Homecoming Queen. This time, she and Chris danced away the whole evening in a blue formal that her daughter Vicki had mailed her from Phoenix.
Sonja is survived by her children, Michael, Fargo, ND, Vicki, Phoenix, AZ, Christ, Denver, CO, Keith, Duluth, MN and Kerry, Denver, CO; one daughter-in-law, Joyce; her grandchildren, Jennifer, Jessica, Nicholas, Tyler, Lyndsie, Karlie, Luke and Olivia; great-grandchildren, Jadyn, Colton, James, Lydia and Colbie; two sisters-in-law, Darlene Friestad, Valley City, ND and Audrey Jacobson, Andover, MN.
Sonja was preceded in death by her husband, parents, one daughter Beth, brothers and sisters and two grandchildren Alycia and Adam.
Funeral arrangements by the Lerud Schuldt Funeral Home of Valley City. Online guestbook available at