Print Friendly and PDF With Strings Attached: Remembering Verdi

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Remembering Verdi

The world is diminished by the death this Tuesday of our dear friend Verdenal Hoag Johnson.  She was 92.  (The obituary is here.)

Her daughter wrote that she was at peace and looking forward to the next great adventure with her beloved Edward.

Verdi was a quiltmaker, needleworker, historian, cook, artist, educator, gardener, birdwatcher, genealogist, and progressive. She was gracious and generous and had a fine sense of humor. "Hello, darling," she answered the telephone.

1999, New Jersey 
I met Verdi more than twenty years ago on RCTQ, the Usenet quilting newsgroup.  In 1997 we were among two dozen RCTQers who created the Magpies so that we could chatter on- or off-topic as we chose.  The Magpies began in-person meetups in 1999. That August Verdi hosted a mini-meetup (just five of us) at her home in New Jersey.  My husband grew up in the next town from hers and I asked if her address was familiar. He said he knew the road and we figured out that he'd trimmed their trees in 1959 when he had a summer job with the Morris County Shade Tree Commission.  (We later learned that her parents were friends of my husband's godparents and we think they may well have met his parents once or twice.)

Verdi and Edward sold the New Jersey house and moved to New Hampshire about 2002 to be closer to their daughters and extended family.  When the Magpies met up in Lowell, MA, in 2006, we had a wonderful seafood supper at their new house.

PieLatch, Vancouver 2004: the Jewel Box quilt the Magpies made for Verdi's 80th birthday.

At the El Paso airport, PieFiesta Dos, 2008.
Verdi had hoped for a male TSA agent for the pat-down.

 Verdi charmed these guys when we went out for deep-dish pizza at the Deep Dish PieFest in Chicago, 2010.

1999, New Jersey: Tami, Verdi, Celia, me.

The whole Magpie gang in 2010.

Verdi made this quilt: each block name begins with a different letter of alphabet. (Anvil, bow tie, churn dash....)

Verdi's off-center log cabin quilt. She made off-center log cabins for all the Magpies in the first birthday block exchange.


  1. So sorry for the loss of your friend. We can never have too many or too good friends!

  2. oh nann....sad post....a great quilty friend loss is always sad...

  3. Sorry for your loss Nan, you honor her with your words. This always brings me comfort when I remember those I've lost:

    When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart. For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost.”
    Frederick Buechner (Whistling in the Dark p. 100)

  4. So sorry about the loss of your friend. She sounds like a wonderful person to have known.

  5. A wonderful tribute to your friend. My condolences on her loss but thank you for sharing her life with us here.

  6. What a wonderfully vibrant friend. It's hard to lose someone who is dear to you. And ditto what Vic said.


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