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A Tribute to Loretta Johnson - 1/3 of the heart of IFCO
By Cheryl Harvey Hill

This past week, Loretta Johnson lost her long, and devastating, battle with cancer. For those of you who don’t know, Loretta was one third of the "Johnson sisters;" founders of the International Fan Club Organization, most often referred to as IFCO. She is survived by her wonderful sisters Loudilla and Kay. As co-presidents of IFCO, Loretta and her sisters have been paramount in their contributions to country music, in general, and Music City, in particular, but they contributed even more to humanity; individually and collectively. I’m sure that Loudilla and Kay will continue to do so and our entire crew at CSO joins me in sending our heartfelt condolences to them.

Pictured Left to Right: Loretta, Loudilla, ol' blue eyes and Kay.

Writing a tribute to Loretta isn’t easy, and not because there aren’t enough words to describe her, but because there are so many marvelous words that perfectly characterize who she was and what she stood for. My problem lies in how do I convey her energy, her beauty, her compassion, her inspiring spirit, and peerless personality, in just a few paragraphs? The answer is; I can’t. But I will try my best to honor her memory with a humor she would embrace while also trying my best to not inflict upon our readers the pain I am feeling over the loss of this amazing human being who was also a cherished friend and inspiration to me and countless others.

Loretta was, most often, the humorist of this amazingly gifted, beautiful, family trio. She was always cracking jokes and giving you plenty of reason to laugh. She was quite a character and also quite verbal about being smitten with my husband, whom she affectionately referred to as “ol’ blue eyes.” I have more than one email from her that begins, “Dear ol’ blue eyes and what’s her name,” it never failed to make me laugh out loud. As a matter of fact, just hearing from her would make me smile.

She loved sunflowers and she would make a sunflower decoupage for folks that had touched her heart in some way. A package would arrive, unannounced, and you would open it to find a poem, a personal note, or a saying, decoupaged with a large sunflower in the background. When you tried to thank her for making something so special, she would downplay it by saying they were easy to make. Well, when you consider that she was in the midst of fighting for her life every single day that she lived, and that she took time, ignoring her own pain, to create something unique for you; it was quite humbling. However, I can say with confidence that humble was not what she wanted you to feel. She wanted you to feel special... and you did. Very special. Not too many people can make you feel that way. Loretta made everyone, she ever met, feel that way.

Loretta Johnson was one of a kind and when she died, Nashville lost a most important and unique piece of its heart.

Visitation: Monday, April 20 • 9 AM - 12 PM
Clark Funeral Service • 124 W. 2nd Street, Beaver, OK 73932
Phone: 580, 625, 4545

Services: Monday 2:00 PM
Baptist Church (Douglas & Fourth) • Beaver, OK
Burial:  Mountain View Cemetery • Elmwood, OK

In lieu of flowers, the family requests your contribution to The Loretta Johnson Medical Fund Contribution Account, Bank of America, 133 Franklin Road, Brentwood, TN 37027 OR mail to IFCO - Loretta Johnson Medical Fund, P.O. Box 40328, Nashville, TN 37204

For a detailed history of IFCO and information on all IFCO artists: www.ifco.org  

Observations on IFCO 2004 (Giving credit where credit is due.)




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