Mary B. Johnson

Published 5:09 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BURLINGTON, N.C.—Mary Alice B. Johnson passed away on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

Mary B. Johnson

Mary B. Johnson

She was a resident of The Village at Brookwood for the last one and one-half years, and formerly resided at her home on Armfield Avenue.

She was the wife of the late Willard L. Johnson, and is survived by her children, Willard L. Johnson Jr. and wife, Sybil Cheek Johnson, of Sedley, Virginia; retired Superior Court Judge Robert F. Johnson and wife, Catherine W. Johnson, of Burlington; and Courtney Davis Johnson and wife, Susan G. Johnson. of Callaway, Maryland.

Mary Alice was born on June 25, 1921, in Courtland of Southampton County, Virginia. One of 11 children and fondly known as “Sis,” she was the only daughter of Mills Robert Bryant and Frances Eugenia Bryant. Two brothers, William R. “Bill” Bryant of Fort Pierce, Florida, and Melvin W. Bryant of Barhamsville, Virginia, also survive her.

Her five grandchildren and their families are: Mary Evelyn Bell and husband, David, of Chesapeake, Virginia; Bryant Johnson of Raleigh; Bob Johnson and wife, Anna, of Charlotte; Tyler Johnson and wife, Shelly, of Charlotte; and Ethan Johnson of Callaway. She has three great-grandchildren, Matthew and Katelyn Bell and Olivia Johnson.

After graduating from Courtland High School, she received her degree in teacher education from Madison College in Harrisonburg, Virginia. From 1941-1943, she taught in Portsmouth, Virginia, and from 1944-1946 she taught elementary school in Newsoms, Virginia.

On July 24, 1943, she married 2nd Lt. Willard L. Johnson of Sedley, in the Methodist Church at Yale University, where he was completing the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet school before being sent to the South Pacific.

After the war, Mary Alice, Willard and newborn son Willard Jr. moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, where Willard completed his engineering degree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Second son Rob was born in 1948, and then after graduation the family moved to Roanoke, Virginia. In 1950 they moved to Burlington, where Willard was employed as an engineer by Western Electric until his retirement in 1980. Third son Courtney was born in 1954.

As a homemaker, Mary Alice lovingly raised her children, and she loved being outside tending to her flowers and trees. Before Willard’s death in 1983, they traveled extensively throughout America, including a trip to Mexico and Central America with the Wally Byum AirStream Club. Their journeys included many fond memories with best friends, Lib and Joe Whitaker.

For 65 years Mary Alice was an active member of Front Street Methodist Church and its Builders Sunday School class.

She and Willard were strong supporters of the Cub Scouts and Troop 3 of the Boy Scouts of America. She served as an active member of her church Circle Club and the Burlington Woman’s Club volunteering with the Good Shepherd Kitchen and the Thrift Shop.

She taught as a substitute teacher in the Burlington City Schools for several years during the 1960’s and 70’s.

The family wishes to thank the nurses and staff at The Village at Brookwood, Alamance House and Liberty Commons for the many kindnesses shown during the last two years. Special thanks go to CNA Elizabeth Briggs who, through patient guidance and persistence, helped Mary Alice recover her independence and quality of life these last two years.

Those wishing to commemorate Mary Alice’s life may make a gift to Front Street Methodist Church, 136 S. Fisher St., Burlington, NC, 27215; the Heart Fund; the Juvenile Diabetes Fund; or a charity of your choice.

The funeral will be conducted at Front Street United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 24, by the Rev. Ray Wittman and the Rev. Marshall Old. The graveside service will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, at Rosemont Cemetery in Sedley.

The family will receive friends in the Heritage Room at Front Street Church immediately after the service on Friday. At other times, the family will receive friends at Judge Johnson’s home on S. Fairway Drive.

Rich & Thompson Funeral and Cremation Service in Burlington is assisting the family.

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