Mary Elizabeth (Liz) Cunningham Johnson was born on August 12, 1937 in Asheville, NC and died on May 17, 2020 in Washington, DC, following a brief battle with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Liz graduated from Stephens Lee High School in Asheville (in 1954), She enrolled at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC. In 1955 she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta, a public service sorority, which helped strengthen her desire to engage in community service. Liz earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Johnson C. Smith University and graduated Cum Laude in 1958. At Atlanta University School of Social Work, she earned a Master of Social Work degree in 1960. During her professional career, she held several positions in Social Work – Family and Children’s Services, Fort Wayne, IN; Children’s Aid Society, Detroit, MI; Child and Family Service, Washtenaw, County, MI and Student Mental Health Counselor and Lecturer at the University of Michigan.
Liz served on boards and engaged in the activities of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, La Leche League, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the NAACP, Fair Housing Association the National Urban League and the League of women Voters. Liz married Henry “Hank” Johnson in 1960, and they became parents of three children. Parenting, being a grandmother (and great-grandmother), gardening, world travel, reading and writing were interests she held dear. Life in New York City and Washington, DC provided the proper backdrop for her continuing education pursuits. She spent countless hours exploring the museums, the statues, the libraries, the parks – all to quench her thirst for first-hand interaction with her surroundings. Liz was a cornucopia of information on a variety of subjects.
Preceding Mary Elizabeth Cunningham Johnson in death were both parents; Roman Cunningham and Madel Hendrix Cochran and siblings – James Edgar Cochran, George Roman Cunningham, Grace Coreen Woody, Dorothy Jean Kelly, Frances Mae Pope, - and her beloved son, Eric Vincent Johnson.
Left to cherish her life and memories are a son, Ian Scott Johnson and a daughter, Stephanie Johnson Browne, both of Ann Arbor, MI; a grandson, Malik Browne; a granddaughter, Imani Wells; two great-grandchildren, Camerin Amari-Lee Williams and Malcolm Damien Browne; a niece, Frances Delores Johnson of Ocala, FL; nephews, Charles Jenkins Woody and James Rudolf Woody of Asheville, NC plus a host of other nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
A graveside memorial service will be held at 11:00 am Saturday, August 15, 2020 at Sunset Cemetery, Asheville, NC.
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