Joseph Parker Johnson, 1931 - 2018

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Joseph Parker Johnson, 13 July 1931-5 January 2018

Joseph Parker Johnson was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on 13 July 1931 to Benjamin and Mary Johnson and raised in Boston.  He began to attend worship at Friends Meeting of Washington in the early 1950s while a graduate student of mathematics at Howard University and applied for membership in October 1953.  Wrote the Meeting’s secretary Sara Hadley to the Overseers Committee at that time: “I know him to be a young man of fine character.  He is honest and trustworthy in every way.”  In the following year he requested Meeting approval for his application for conscientious objector status from the Boston Selective Service Board.

Joe served on Meeting committees continuously from 1964 to 1989 – Peace, Personal Aid, Finance and Property, Ushers, Quaker House, Marriage and Family Relations, Nominating, Trustees, Overseers – and as Meeting Treasurer.  He also participated in community activities.

For most of his working life Friend Joe managed computer operations for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and sometimes taught at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School. In 1955 he married Gladys Richardson, a librarian at Sidwell Friends Middle School.  She attended meeting with her husband and children but did not take membership.  Gladys died of cancer in 1998.  Their three children (all associate members when young but not attaining full membership) were: Kenneth and Judith (both born 1959) and Mary (1969).  In 2002 Joe married for some years Meeting member Deborah Churchman.

Joe’s health deteriorated slowly from the late 1990s onward; operations, mostly relating to mobility, took him to hospital and rest home with increasing regularity until he moved from his Georgetown house to Avalon House.  He died in 2018.