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Charla Vae Johansen-Pierce, 83

Charla Vae Johansen-Pierce, 83, of Woodstock (Marengo), passed away, Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

She was born on Aug. 11, 1940, in Woodstock, the daughter of the late Charles F. and Evalyn I. (Peterson) Johansen. On June 19, 1965, Charla married Clifford F. Pierce at the First United Methodist Church in Woodstock.

Charla attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington on a piano scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance in 1962. She was a member of the music fraternity of Delta Omicron, serving as president of the Sigma Chapter during her senior year at Illinois Wesleyan. She then attended the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, graduating in 1964 with a Master of Music degree in piano performance, studying with William J. Browning.

Following her graduation, Charla taught on the piano faculty at the world famous Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Mich., where she met her future husband in Charlevoix, Mich. After her marriage, Charla taught music for one year at Clay Street School within the Woodstock school district before starting her family. She then opened a private music studio focusing primarily on piano education, ranging from pre-school through adults, which became her life’s joy! She enriched countless students’ lives through music for over 40 years!

Charla maintained her professional development by maintaining a membership of the Fox Hill Music Teacher Association. She was a member of the prestigious Piano Guild and was a sought-after judge in many local music contests. Charla was the church organist/accompanist for over 20 years at the First United Methodist Church in Woodstock.

Charla, following in her mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps, was a member of the 169-year old Seneca Ladies Literary Society (SLLS) until her passing. Charla was a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church in Woodstock.

Charla is survived by her husband, Clifford; her children, Shawn C. (Curtis) Anderson, Charla L. Pierce, Alyssa R Whiting, and Barry C.C. (Jamie Galler) Pierce; grandchildren, Sydney R. Anderson, Madalyn E. Anderson, Myranda L. Anderson, Donovan F. Amos, Devin C. Whiting, Lauren A. (Sean) Herron, Elijah J. Pierce, Benjamin C.C. Pierce, and Hailey Alexandra Galler; great-granddaughter, Isla Joan; dear friend, Tom McTague Jr. and his children, Thomas J. McTague and Rebecca L. McTague.

She was preceded in death by her beloved parents and two brothers, Charles and Cole Johansen.

Charla’s celebration of life will be held on Jan. 20, 2024, at First United Methodist Church in Woodstock. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. with the celebration of life at 11 a.m., officiated by Pastor Hyujae Lee. A luncheon will follow in the Fellowship Hall.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church in Woodstock or the Interlochen Center for the Arts at

For information contact the Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home at 815-

338-1710 or visit

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