Louise M. Johnson, Orioles' first secretary

November 22, 1993|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,Contributing Writer

Louise Meister Johnson, a former radio actress and executive secretary for the Baltimore Orioles during the team's birth in the 1950s, died of brain cancer Wednesday at her home in Ormond && Beach, Fla. She was 68.

Mrs. Johnson was born and raised in Baltimore, where her German-American family owned butcher stands in the city markets, including Lexington and Cross Street.

She graduated from Western High School in 1943 -- a year in which her father, Charles Louis Meister, was murdered during a robbery attempt by a former employee at the family's farm near )) Sykesville.

Mrs. Johnson attended what is now Towson State University for two years, then moved in 1945 to Detroit, finding work as an actress performing female voices for "The Lone Ranger" and "The Green Hornet" radio shows.

Moving back to Baltimore in 1953, she became the second employee hired by the Baltimore Orioles baseball club as owner Jack Dunn and General Manager Arthur Ehlers prepared for the 1954 move of the St. Louis Browns franchise to Baltimore. As executive secretary, she typed contracts and arranged meetings out of a hotel room. She took great pride in the fact that she typed Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson's original contract.

She was married in 1953 to Joseph George Johnson III, who worked for the Orioles publicity department.

In 1964, she left her job as secretary and became a licensed insurance agent. She and her husband were affiliated with the Johnson Insurance Agency and the Cole Insurance Co.

In 1983, she and her husband retired to Ormond Beach, Fla. In 1990, she became chairwoman of the Ormond Beach Senior Olympic Games and director of the Senior Club Show, a group of 60 to 70 seniors who performed in the area.

Services were to be held at 10:30 a.m. today in the sanctuary of the First English Lutheran Church, at Charles and 39th streets in Baltimore.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Johnson is survived by a daughter, Jean Johnson Lubke; and two grandchildren, all of Lutherville.

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