Facebook friends write book in memory of shooting victim and create scholar ship



Facebook friends dedicate book to Gudrun Johnson

By Jim Carney                                 Beacon Journal staff writer

A book of stories from German women living in America called Good-bye, Germany: Hallo, Amerika! has been dedicated to Gudrun Johnson, one of the victims of last August’s shootings in Copley Township.

The book, written by Uta Burke, of East Brunswick, N.J., and women who are part of the Facebook page “German Girls Living in America,” includes a chapter with photographs on Gudrun Johnson, who was a group member.

Johnson grew up in Wiesbaden-Biebrich.

Annemarie Stockman, another member of the group, said she met Johnson through Facebook more than three years ago.

“We became close personal friends,” Stockman said by email from Postville, Iowa. She said Johnson loved having fun and often played pranks on group members.

“I miss her more than I could tell you,” she wrote. Losing her ripped “a hole in my life … I thank God for the memories I have of the time I was able to know her.”

Marlies Jacobsen, of Englewood, Ohio, said she met her future husband through the Johnsons when Gudrun and her husband, Russell, were stationed with the 81st Airborne in Germany.

“Gudrun was my very best friend,” Jacobsen said of the woman she had known for 52 years.

She brought a heart-shaped wreath — decorated with a ribbon with German colors — on behalf of the Facebook friends to the Johnsons’ funeral last year.

Helga “Gigi” Hudson said she met Johnson when they were teenagers in Wiesbaden-Biebrich and remained friends.

“We spoke the last time on the phone two days before that senseless tragedy,” Hudson wrote by email from Greensboro, N.C.

“For a long time I still had one of Gurdie’s messages on my cellphone,” she wrote. “My friend is in my heart and soul. I will miss her until the day I leave this earth.”

Burke, a writer of young adult fiction, said she joined the Facebook group in the spring of 2011.

“On August 9th, I went on [Facebook], and the first thing I saw was the news about Gudrun being shot,” she wrote. “Our group, which consists of 1,200 members, was beyond shocked. We collected money, part of which was for the wreath.”

In April, Burke said, she got the idea to compile the experiences of the women living in America into a book. She asked the Facebook friends if they would write the book together and dedicate it to Johnson.

“They loved the idea, and three months later, we had 300 pages,” she said.

Burke, a native of Ulm, Germany, said proceeds from the book’s sales will be donated to the Akron Al-Anon Tuesday night group, a gathering Johnson supported. The goal is to establish a scholarship in her name.

The book, written mostly in German, is available from
Amazon.com and other sellers for about $16.

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