Accepting the award on behalf of the family was two future Yellow Jackets: Rian Halligan, the great granddaughter, and Bridger Johnson, the great grandson, of Elmer E. and Martha V. Johnson.


The descendants of Elmer E. and Martha V. Johnson were honored as the 2013 Black Hills State University Legacy Family which honors families who have a tradition of attending BHSU. Members of the family attending the recent ceremony were: front row, left to right, Colton Riley; Bridger Johnson; Lorraine (Johnson) King, class of’69; Barbara (Johnson) Matson, class of ’63; Sue Ellen Howell; Sonja Johnson, attended; Wyatt Mortenson; Rian Halligan. Back row, left to right, Kim Johnson; E. Orange Johnson, class of ’98; Norma (Hupp) Johnson, class of ’60 & ’66; Cecil Johnson, class of ’62 & ’68; Glenice (Johnson) Brown, attended; Charles “Chuck” Matson, class of ’64; Kevin King; Berle Johnson, class of ’64; Deanna Johnson; Lori Deane Johnson; and Hazel Johnson.

Black Hills State University recently honored the descendants of Elmer E. and Martha V.  Johnson as the 2013 Legacy Family. The award was presented by BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp and Steve Meeker, vice president of University Advancement, during halftime at a recent BHSU basketball game.

Started in 2008, the Legacy Family Award honors families who have a tradition of attending BHSU.

The Johnsons span two generations of family members who have attended or graduated from BHSU. Twelve descendants of Elmer and Martha Johnson were honored.  The first generation of the Johnson legacy at BHSU included:  Glenice M. (Johnson) Brown, attended; Virgil Johnson, class of ’58; Norma (Hupp) Johnson, class of ’60 and ’66; Cecil Johnson, class of ’62 and ’68; Lorin D. Johnson, attended; Robert “Bob” Johnson, class of ’63; Barbara (Johnson) Matson, class of ’63; Berle Johnson, class of ’64; Charles “Chuck” Matson, class of ’64; and Lorraine (Johnson) King, class of ’69. The second generation included: E. Orange Johnson, class of ’98; and Sonja Johnson, attended.

Martha V. Johnson was a lifetime believer in the importance of education and hard work, and encouraged all of her nine children to pursue higher education. Eight of the Johnson children attended BHSU with six receiving degrees. All eight worked in various areas of education totaling 234 years in the field. In 1991, in honor of their mother, the Johnson family started the Martha V. Johnson Memorial Book scholarship fund at BHSU.

All six boys followed in their father Elmer’s footsteps and served in the U.S. military.

Martha and Elmer’s great granddaughter Rian Halligan and great grandson Bridger Johnson accepted the award on behalf of the Johnson family.

For more information about the Legacy Family Award or to nominate a deserving family contact Tom Wheaton, director of alumni relations, at 605.642.6385 or

Posted in: 2013
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