Frances Garth Johnson

Age 91: Bookkeeper, longtime worker for federal government

June 22, 2008|By David Kohn | David Kohn,Sun reporter

Frances Garth Johnson, a career federal worker, died of liver cancer June 12. She was 91 and had lived in Ellicott City since 1987.

Mrs. Johnson, who worked for the federal government for decades, was born in Hazlehurst, Miss. She was the ninth of 10 children born to Ada Bird Garth and Llewelyn Branham Garth, a doctor and farmer.

After high school, she decided to pursue an education and career in bookkeeping. She attended a two-year business college in Mississippi and earned a bookkeeping degree. In 1939, she married Robert Edward Johnson in Montgomery, Ala. Mr. Johnson died eight years ago.

Mr. Johnson was an airplane mechanic and supervisor in the Air Force, and as a result the Johnsons moved frequently. They lived in Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, North Dakota and Florida, as well as four years overseas in Japan.

They also lived in Fairfax, Va., and Sykesville.

Mrs. Johnson worked as a bookkeeper in private industry and for the federal government. While with the government - in part at the Pentagon - she rose to become a publisher, overseeing printing and creation of books and reports. She retired in the mid-1970s.

She enjoyed working with charities and listening to music, mostly classical and country.

After she retired, Mrs. Johnson spent much of her time volunteering at a local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. According to family lore, one of her ancestors was a childhood playmate of Thomas Jefferson.

She was a member of Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church in Ellicott City, where services were held Tuesday.

She is survived by three sons, Gary Johnson of San Antonio, Frank Johnson of Merritt Island, Fla., and Robert Johnson of Ellicott City; a sister, Maurie Rials of Natchez, Miss., and five grandchildren. A daughter, Janice Prince, died in 2006.

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