Virginia O. Johansen (b. October 8, 1933; d. August 14, 2010) served as a Republican on the Ann Arbor City Council representing Ward 3 from April 1981 to April 1983.


Virginia Olson Johansen died Saturday, August 14, 2010 at Arbor Hospice surrounded by her loving family. She was 76 years old. Virginia was born in Ottosen, IA in 1933 to Douglas and Helen Olson. Virginia grew up on a farm in Boone, IA, and her intense love for her Iowa roots remained a source of great pride throughout her life. As a girl, she was active in 4H and Campfire Girls among other organizations. She attended school at Jordan, IA and was the valedictorian of her high school class. In 1955, Virginia graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology. Following her graduation from Iowa State, Virginia taught biology, chemistry, and mathematics at Ferry Hall School for Girls in Lake Forest, IL. It was in Lake Forest that Virginia met her husband Elmer "Larry" Johansen. Shortly after their marriage in 1958, they relocated to Ann Arbor, MI. A resident of Ann Arbor for over 50 years, Virginia was well known for her active participation in the civic fabric of Ann Arbor. Reflecting a family tradition and personal belief in community service, she lent her enthusiastic support to a wide range of public institutions. In this capacity, she served as a member of the Ann Arbor City Council, the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Commission, the Ann Arbor City Planning Commission, the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market Commission and the Washtenaw County Board of Canvassers. She was active in the Republican Party and served in a number of capacities including positions on city, county and district committees. Beginning with her tenure as a camp counselor at Burr Oaks Camp in Mukwonago, WI as a college student, Virginia remained an enthusiastic supporter of educational and youth programs, and served on the Ann Arbor School Board's Title IX Committee, Huron High School PTO Board and Curriculum Revision Committee. In addition, she served for many years as a board member for the Ann Arbor Swim Club, the Michigan State Committee for AAU Swimming, and was the Swimming Co-chair for the Arborough Games. Her interest in education and youth athletics continued professionally in her position as President and Director of West Hills Camps in New Hartford, CT, which she led from 1977 to 1981. Virginia was a tireless volunteer and found great satisfaction participating in and leading many community based organizations in the Ann Arbor area. She served as a volunteer and Trustee for the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum. Virginia was also a member of the Salvation Army Board of Washtenaw County, and served on the Women's Council of Washtenaw Community College. Ronald McDonald House and Motor Meals each benefitted from her great passion for helping others for over 20 years. Virginia received numerous honors for her volunteer work, and was extremely proud of a recent scholarship established in her name at Washtenaw Community College. Virginia's belief in education was passed on to her four children, and she took great pride in seeing all of them achieve doctoral degrees. Virginia was preceded in death by her parents Charles Douglas and Helen Peasley Olson. In addition to her loving husband, Virginia is survived by her adoring children Douglas (Claudia Scaff) Johansen of Jacksonville, FL; Kristine (William Martin) Johansen of Boone, IA; Mette Johansen of Shaker Heights, OH; Lisa (James Sullivan) Johansen of Belmont, MA; and her sister Margaret (John) McDonald of Aurora, OH. She will be greatly missed by her five beloved grandchildren Zachariah Martin, Charles and Julia Johansen, and Grace and Emily Sullivan. Burial has taken place in Beaver, IA. All are welcome to attend a Memorial Service at the Ann Arbor City Club, 1830 Washtenaw Avenue on Sunday, September 12, 2010 from 2 to 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Virginia Johansen Scholarship Fund at Washtenaw Community College or to any of the organizations that were close to Ginny's heart.