Lorita “Rete” Johnson, 85, of Oshkosh passed away Saturday evening, October 9, 2021 at the Regional West Garden County Nursing Home in Oshkosh.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at the Oshkosh Community Wesleyan Church with Pastor Bruce Neal officiating. Burial will follow in the Oshkosh City Cemetery.
The service will be live streamed and available to watch after the service on the Holechek-Bondegard Funeral Home Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/hbfunerals).
There will be no visitation at the funeral home.
View the online slideshow at
Memorials in Rete’s name can be made to the Oshkosh Wesleyan Church.
Holechek-Bondegard Funeral Home and Cremations in Oshkosh is serving the Johnson family.
Lorita (“Rete”) Wilva Fuhrer was born the fourth of five children to William and Eva Belva (Hoover) Fuhrer in Davenport, Nebraska on November 26, 1935.
The family lived in the country until they moved into Davenport. Rete was baptized at a young age. Rete’s mother died when Rete was 15 years old, and she lost her father 3 years later. Rete graduated from Davenport High School in 1953.
She married Herbert Dean Johnson on November 15, 1953. In later years, the couple divorced. They lived in the Edgar area, where she purchased the Edgar Café and ran it until 1956. In 1966, Dean and Rete and their five children moved to a farm near Oshkosh, Nebraska to grow sugar beets. Rete raised, dressed and sold chickens, as well as bushels of green beans from her very large garden. She worked at Johnson’s Café, S & S Café, and Dunn’s Turkey Farm. She was a cleaner at the hospital/nursing home when it was built, until she became the head cook and kitchen supervisor at the Oshkosh Hospital/Nursing Home for several years.
In 1978, she purchased the Hamburger Barn/Camper Park on Highway 26 in Oshkosh, which she owned and operated as a family business, with the help of her children and grandchildren (and anyone who married into the family), until 1999. She became known for “Best Burgers Around” as well as her famous fried chicken. By then, she had moved from the home above the Hamburger Barn to a new home built where the camper park had been. She lived there until January of 2020, when she moved to the Regional West Nursing Home due to health issues.
After she sold the Hamburger Barn, Rete kept busy working at the daycare, cleaning houses, doing a little catering, and thinking about jumping back into the food business! All she needed was a partner and a place. In 2004, that golden opportunity came along, and she and her oldest daughter, Deanne (Cooper), opened the Korner Kitchen on Main Street in Oshkosh, where the tradition continued with a fast food business and lots of catering. Their plan to keep the business “for just a couple of years” turned into seven, until she decided, with input from her children, that it was time to sell the business. She continued to fry chicken and make salads for people and events from her home. Rete attended the Oshkosh Wesleyan Church, and as soon as the service was over, she was the first one out the door!
Rete’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were her life. Christmas was her greatest holiday. Even in her years as a young mother, she worked and saved all she could to ensure her children had a special Christmas, hiding their presents in great hiding places (that they usually found, though they didn’t tell her). She was a hard worker, and still made time to attend her children’s and grandchildren’s activities. People marveled at how many of those grandchildren would fit in her El Camino when she picked them up from school! Rete always made it out to ride on the equipment when her two sons, Gary and Ted, were farming on her land. She looked forward to her family gathering for holiday meals and attending the many outings at the family’s sandpit. Through the winter months, Rete always had a card table set up with a puzzle on it. She liked country western music and could always be found watching westerns!
Nearly everyone in Garden County has enjoyed food prepared by Rete. Through the years, she catered for the golf course, Lions and Lioness Club meetings, the local jail, family reunions, funeral dinners, class reunions, alumni banquets, Marshalltown Christmas parties, weddings, rehearsal dinners, a car show, Westco dinners, the Bayard prom, brandings and so many other events.
Rete is survived by her five children: Deanne (Lynn) Cooper, Gary (Marie) Johnson, LuCinda Jessen, Ted (MarrLyn) Johnson, all of Oshkosh, and Sherry (Steve) Jobman of Bayard; and her sister and brother-in-law, Nancy & Val Milegar, of Aurora, Colorado.
Grandchildren: Jay Cooper, Linde (Justin) Rafferty, Jeff (Shandra) Cooper, Haley (Jared) Derry, Levi Johnson (Boris Boaryo), Dana Johnson (Tim Gillen), Kristin (Gage) Stermensky, Chelsee Jessen, Tabitha Johnson (Jeremiah Jeltema), McCabe Johnson, Samantha (Bryce) Stoltenberg, Shaylee (Troy) Little and Spencer (Justine) Jobman.
Great-grandchildren: Cole Rafferty; Kelbi, Carson and Quaid Cooper; Dex, Jase and Nate Derry; Jaylee Molina; Gage and Gary Stermensky; Noah and Ella Wirth; Avery and Hudson Johnson; Braxtyn, Brielle, Suttyn and Shainee Stoltenberg; Blakely Little; and Sloane Jobman.
She is preceded in death by her parents; brother, Merle; sisters and brothers-in-laws Carlene and Gerald Lambert and Joanne and Harley Grone; and one great grandson, Devin Gillen.