Dr. Carolyn Johnson Wesenberg

Carolyn Johnson Wesenberg, 90, St. Anthony Park, died peacefully July 18, 2017.

Dr. Johnson had a long and distinguished career in family practice with an emphasis on obstetrics. She obtained a bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1952 and was one of four women to graduate in her medical class. There was little doubt that she would follow in her father’s footsteps and pursue a calling in medicine as far back as age 7, when he first mentored her in the fine art of tying a surgical suture knot.

After an internship at Miller Hospital (a predecessor to current United Hospital) she joined her surgeon father as a family practitioner in his Frogtown neighborhood office. That was the beginning of a varied, full and rich clinical career spanning more than 50 years.

Dr. Johnson’s interests and expertise were wide-ranging. She practiced at the time when it was not uncommon for a family doctor to make house calls, assist in the surgical suite and provide obstetrical care in addition to their clinic and hospital responsibilities. She delivered nearly 6,000 babies, most of them in hospitals, though many were home deliveries done with safely planned specialty backup.  She cared for children and adults alike, and in later years she found chronic care of the geriatric population to fit her talents and attention.

Dr. Johnson practiced medicine at various locations, including 11 years with Dr. David Gilbertson at St. Anthony Park Clinic, now occupied by Colossal Café.

Dr. Johnson was certified and recertified by the American Board of Family Practice. She taught and supervised medical students and residents for many years. She was a member of the Bethesda Hospital staff executive committee and served her colleagues as president of the Ramsey Medical Society Senior Physician’s Association. Her more than 55 years as an active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians were capped with her designation as life member by that noble body.

Dr. Johnson’s remarkable professional activities were not a deterrent to leading a full family life away from her offices and hospitals. She married her childhood sweetheart, Clarence “Wes” Wesenberg (chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the U of M), and together they raised six children. Dr. Johnson admitted to juggling and balancing their busy work schedules with that of their home responsibilities and attributed their success in that realm to her husband’s excellent meal-planning and cooking skills.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence (Wes); son, Noel; and brother, Carl Johnson. She is survived by her sister, Suzanne Reller; children, Nicholas, St. Paul; Nathaniel (Betsy), Roseville; Nanette (Jeff) Trent, Maryland; Nina (Jason) Steiner, Roseville; and Ned, Roseville, owner of Park Service in St. Anthony Park; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Interment was at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Leave a Reply