When octogenarian Edward Johanson was learning to use his new Kindle e-book reader at the Frankenmuth Wickson Library in the spring of 2012, he was assisted by a 15-year-old boy who was there working on his home-school studies. The boy helped Ed master his new device and then was on his way. Ed’s wife, Kay Sue Johanson, tells the story of that day with a gleam in her eye because to her it is a perfect illustration of the wonderful things that happen at the library every day: education, entertainment, social interaction and growth.

During their 36 years of marriage, Edward and Kay Sue lived in communities in many parts of  the country but when they returned to Kay Sue’s hometown of Frankenmuth, they enjoyed many hours at the Wickson Library.  After Edward Johanson passed away on September 23, 2012, Kay Sue worked with the Frankenmuth Community Foundation to establish two new endowed funds at the Foundation for the beneἀt of their beloved Wickson Library.

Kay Sue explains, “The gracious people at the Wickson Library touched our hearts. We knew that tax money could not cover all the necessary expenses and wanted the library to be able to keep up with all the changes occurring in our society so it will always be here. Our hope was that by establishing these funds, others who love the library like we did would be able to contribute and together, we could ensure a bright future for this valuable resource.”

The Edward E. and Kay Sue Johanson Capital Improvement Fund for the Wickson Library Endowment and the Edward E. and Kay Sue Johanson Fund for the Wickson Library Endowment will make funds available to be used at the discretion of the library board each year for items such as books, new technology and programs. The Capital Improvement Fund will also make a portion of the principal investment available every 10 years for larger projects.

“Libraries are so important. They help people grow – not just young people – everyone needs access to information so they can learn and grow,” stated Kay Sue.

Stephen C. List, Executive Director of the Frankenmuth Community Foundation added, “We are excited to be a part of this Endowment for the Wickson Library. The Johanson’s felt very strongly about supporting the library and all it has to offer. As the Frankenmuth Community Foundation we know that this is a very important asset of the Frankenmuth Area and want to do all that we can to provide needed funding for the library. We also feel that we can assist them in raising additional dollars through our annual drive and encourage others to participate in this worthwhile cause. We look forward to a working relationship with the Wickson Library and its many donors.”

Edward Johanson was born in Monticello, New York and after high school graduation enlisted in the United States Army and served for two years as a radio operator in Okinawa. Once home from the service, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill and attended Syracuse University full-time while also working full-time for American Airlines as a radio operator. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Physics and went on to work for engineering firms before starting his own research and development company. Kay Sue Neuchterlein was born in Frankenmuth and graduated from Concordia University - Chicago and did graduate work at Michigan State University. She spent time as a teacher as well as in the business world working in purchasing for Fortune 500 companies. Both came to appreciate libraries during their time in college.

“My husband was a quiet, unassuming man who was happy to be ‘home’ in Frankenmuth. He enjoyed his time at the Wickson Library immensely and I am happy to be working with the Frankenmuth Community Foundation to ensure that others can continue to experience the happiness we found there,” said Kay Sue.

Wickson Library  Director Mary Chasseur concludes, “Ed and Susie’s generous gift will live on for many generations to the beneἀt of countless people.  Ed and his encouraging words and attitude are greatly missed by the library staᴀ.  We are honored to have the trust of Susie on behalf of both of them to assure their legacy through the library.  What a privilege for us and for the whole community served.”

Criteria for Selection:

The Edward E. Johanson Scholarship recipients will be chosen based on the following criteria:

  1. The applicant must be either a member of the current graduating class or a recent graduate of the High School.
  2. The applicant must be planning to attend a college or university full time, and prior to distribution of the scholarship funds, must be accepted and enrolled.
  3. The applicant must demonstrate academic skills and a desire to major in mathematics or science (pure or applied) in college.
  4. Selection must also be based on financial need of the student for assistance with college costs.
  5. The applicant should demonstrate service to his/her school, church or community through active participation.
  6. The scholarship will be awarded without regard to sex, race, religion, place of birth or personal handicap.
  7. The decision of the Selection Committee shall be final.


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