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Johnson, Vonda L.

Johnson, Vonda L.

November 4, 1927 — December 24, 2021

Vonda Leah Lankford Johnson (Gourley), beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, passed away on Christmas Eve, 2021 at Norterre Living Center in Liberty, Missouri at the age of 94. Vonda was born to Emma Leah Hudelson Lankford and David Lyons Lankford at their farmhouse near Adrian, Missouri on November 4, 1927, their sixth and last child, and only girl.

Vonda remembered fondly her rural farm upbringing and family times. As money was scarce, she put herself through college at Central Missouri State, Warrensburg, including teaching in one and two room country schools. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 1950 with a major in speech, ranking first in her graduating class.

Shortly after graduation, Vonda married a high school sweetheart, Leland Lynwood Johnson. The couple had two children, Janet and David. They first lived in Kansas City, Missouri, and then followed Leland’s jobs to Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, back to Missouri, and then to El Paso, Texas, where Leland died very unexpectedly from a heart attack in 1982. Vonda often worked in various capacities as a speech therapist or schoolteacher and loved children. Wherever they lived, among Vonda’s first tasks were finding a new church home and locating the nearest public library. Vonda embraced new experiences and made lifelong friends wherever she lived.

Following Leland’s death, Vonda ultimately retired to Liberty, where she spent over 25 years at a College Place West condo on the William Jewell campus. She devoted time to her grandchildren (Kelly, Natalie, Corey, and Hailey), continued her tradition of lay leadership at church, continued playing Bridge, and traveled throughout the U.S and to over 10 countries. At the age of 82, having been widowed 28 years, she married Darrel Wright Gourley, a member with her at Second Baptist Church in Liberty and a revered and retired coach at William Jewell College. They had a rich, ten-year union until Darrel’s passing in 2020.

Vonda is preceded in death by her parents, her brothers, and her two husbands. She is survived by her two children and their spouses, four grandchildren, two great-grandsons, Darrel’s three children, eight step-grandchildren, and twelve step-great-grandchildren.

The funeral service will be held at 10:00 am Saturday, February 19, 2022, at Second Baptist Church, Liberty, Missouri. If attending in person, kindly wear a mask. As COVID protocols may vary in time, please visit this obituary site in the event additional requirements become mandated. The funeral will be live streamed. Please visit www.2bc.org ("connect online" and scroll down to "watch a service") to attend virtually.

A private family graveside service will follow the funeral at Crescent Hill Cemetery, Adrian, Missouri.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Endowment Fund of Second Baptist Church, Liberty, Missouri, or to InAsMuch Ministries, Liberty, Missouri.

Service Information

The funeral service will be held at 10:00 am Saturday, February 19, 2022, at Second Baptist Church, Liberty, Missouri. If attending in person, kindly wear a mask. As COVID protocols may vary in time, please visit this obituary site in the event additional requirements become mandated. The funeral will be live streamed. Please visit www.2bc.org (“connect online” and scroll down to “watch a service”) to attend virtually.

A private family graveside service will follow the funeral at Crescent Hill Cemetery, Adrian, Missouri.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Endowment Fund of Second Baptist Church, Liberty, Missouri, or to InAsMuch Ministries, Liberty, Missouri.

Johnson, Vonda L.'s Guestbook

Vonda was a very dear precious lady. She taught my two oldest children in kindergarten and made such a Godly impact on our lives. She loved each and every student and their families and prayed for them. She followed up with as many as she could until a year ago, last time I heard from her, to know how to better pray for them- for that I am very thankful as well. She also was so very proud of her children and especially her Grandchildren abd loved them very much❣️ Going to miss her but look forward to seeing her again in heaven ❤️

Eric and Debbie Lomax

Mrs. Johnson was my kindergarten teacher in 1989. I got my love of reading from her. I still remember her puppet stories of pineapple upside down cake that we all loved as a class. She was such a blessing!

Courtney (Lomax) Winslow

Mrs. Johnson was a great lady and great mother to my friend David. She was a blessing to her family and all who knew her.

John and Patty Lathrop

I was so sorry to hear of Vonda's passing. She was a delightful person and a very interesting person to visit with. She had a heart of gold. My blessings and prayers to all of the family.

Connie Davidson

Vonda was my Sunday School teacher at Second Baptist Church, she was very knowledgeable about every lesson. I got to know her well and my Mother and I visited and brought meals to her and Darrell at there condo. I have very fond memories of her and cherish my time in her class. My sympathies to her surviving family especially her daughter Janet.

Leanne Frazier

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