Judy Johnson, executive director of the Dobson Museum and caretaker and resident of the Dobson House, died Easter Sunday morning.
“Mom loved life,” her daughter, Ruth Eads said. “She fought to stay here. She was the strongest woman I know.”
Johnson and her husband Garry, who preceded her in death, retired 11 years ago from their positions at Integris Baptist Regional Health Center, to take on the responsibility of maintaining the Dobson House.
“My parents thought it would be awesome to live in the old Dobson House,” Eads said.
Eads said her mother had an intense interest in history and genealogy which came in handy in her involvement with the Dobson.
“I'm going to miss Judy's outlook on life,” said Ramon Hale, president of the Ottawa County Historical Society and Johnson's co-worker at the museum. “She saw it as her mission to promote the Dobson Memorial Center and to develop awareness of what the center has to offer the community.”
Johnson leaves behind three additional daughters, Sherry Scribner, Beth Sharp and Julie Miller, as well as 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
She was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Miami.
Johnson was the organizer of one of Miami's chapters of the "Red Hat Society."
She invited five friends, none of whom knew each other at the time, to a tea party.
Each had helped her in some way and she thought they would benefit from knowing each other.
Johnson was also a member of the Modern Homemakers H.C.E. and the Miami Garden Society, the Business and Professional Women, Friends of the Coleman and the Integris Baptist Regional Health Center Auxiliary..
“After Dad died seven years ago, Mom joined a lot of clubs to keep herself busy”" Eads said. “She turned around and blossomed.”
A native Miamian, Johnson's knowledge of the area was considered by many to be priceless to the Dobson Museum.
“She had a wealth of information vital to the museum,” Hale said. “Her roots in the area go back to the ‘allotment days.”
Eads, her husband Alan and four of their five children, will assume Johnson's position as caretaker and residents of the Dobson House.
“Alan's been taking care of the grounds the past seven years, ever since Dad died” Eads said.
“Judy was a real treasure,” Hale said. “She will be sadly missed.”