Elinor Johnson: A blessed woman
On Wednesday, the Mon Valley Area — specifically the children, families and community of the Ringgold School District — lost a most loving, caring and compassionate friend in Elinor Johnson.
As a teacher and coach for many years at Mon Valley Catholic and in the Ringgold School District, I personally witnessed the love and concern Elinor had with many of our students, those involved in sports, and family friends from her community and church.
Whether it was sending her nephew, Joe Montana, 100 cards, posters, footballs, or helmets that needed autographed, “Aunt Elinor” always took the time and made the effort because she knew some young boy or girl was going to have a happy heart with famous nephew Joe's signature or autographed picture.
Her loyalty and true love of Notre Dame and the San Francisco 49ers during Joe's playing days was always celebrated with her many friends and family. Aunt Elinor was always the one putting a game plan together for a monumental successful event with Ken Wiltz from the Mon Valley YMCA or Paul Zolak, former athletic director at Ringgold High School.
As my friend, Don DeVore recently said to me, “Elinor loved the children and people of Monongahela and Ringgold.”
One of her greatest accomplishments and a moment in time that I will always cherish was in 2006 when Ringgold named its football stadium “Joe Montana Stadium.”
When I visited Elinor at her home to tell her of this most exciting news, her eyes filled with tears of great joy. She had such happiness and love for her nephew, Joe, and all her family (The Montanas, Bavasos and Johnsons.)
The weekend of the dedication, she taught each of us to dream big. The entire weekend was showered with God's blessing from heaven: everything from the stadium ceremonies, the alumni tent featuring Eddie DiBartola, Jr., the banquet with fellow inductees Fred Cox, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Stan Musial, the thousands of blue and gold flowers at the New Eagle Fire Hall for the banquet, to the thrilling Ringgold School District assemblies that every student K-12 was able to attend during the Hall of Fame weekend.
It was throughout the entire weekend that we were touched by angels.
To the entire Johnson family, Montana family and Bavaso family, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing Elinor with all of us as friends, teachers and coaches. She taught us the true definition of servanthood and of loving others every moment of our lives.
May God love and bless all of you.