Andrea Johnson

Age 55 The associate state attorney general served as principal counsel to the Maryland Lottery.

August 08, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun Reporter

Andrea D. Johnson, a former associate state attorney general and principal counsel to the Maryland Lottery, died Aug. 1 of breast cancer at Northwest Hospital Center. The longtime Randallstown resident was 55.

Andrea Dale Jackson was born and raised in Bridgeton, N.J. She was a 1971 graduate of Bridgeton High School and earned a bachelor's degree in history from what is now Morgan State University in 1975.

After graduating from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1980, she interned at the Baltimore City Legal Aid Bureau and then went to work as in-house counsel for Peterson, Howell and Heather, the former Baltimore fleet leasing firm.

In 1981, she became an assistant attorney general and was assigned to the interstate division of the Baltimore City Highway Department.

"In this position, she oversaw all federal aid highway construction within Baltimore City, I-395, Martin Luther King Boulevard and the Fort McHenry Tunnel," said a sister, Carolyn Treherne of Bridgeton.

"The tunnel was the most competitively bid public works project in the country, and Andrea was given several city awards for her assistance and guidance on this project, which came in on time and under budget," Ms. Treherne said.

Ms. Treherne said that her sister was also presented an Exceptional Service Award by then-Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. for handling all legal matters regarding construction of the 7,200-foot-long, 8-lane tunnel under the harbor that opened to traffic in 1985.

Ms. Johnson also played a pivotal role in procuring funding for the building of the Ravens stadium and was given an award for her efforts from Paul Tagliabue, former National Football League commissioner.

From 1993 until retiring in 2007 because of failing health, Ms. Johnson had been principal counsel to the Maryland Lottery.

During her tenure with the lottery agency, it joined the MegaMillions Jackpot Stakes, obtained a new online gaming system that resulted in a $50 million savings to the state, and grew to a $1.5 billion-a-year state agency.

She was a member of the National Association of Attorneys General Internet Gaming Group and the NAAG Indian Lottery Working Group.

"Andrea was so strong, determined, dedicated and proud, and a great boss to work for. She was a lawyer's lawyer," said James B. Butler, an assistant attorney general.

"She could thoroughly analyze situations and then would take control, coordination, preparation and execution of a plan. "She was always extremely methodical," Mr. Butler said.

He added: "Andrea was definitely a wonderful mentor for me and countless assistant attorneys general."

Ms. Johnson had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993.

"She was a fighter to the end and fought the good fight," Mr. Butler said.

Ms. Johnson was an active member for more than two decades at Union Bethel African American Episcopal Church in Randallstown, where she assisted in building the Family Life Center, a new parking and landscaping that included several ponds.

"She joined with other lawyers in the church in assisting in legal matters and helped establish our legal ministry, which oversaw and made sure that all legal documents, contracts and work were in proper order," said the Rev. Charles T. Sembly, who has been pastor of the church for the past 24 years.

"She also worked in our family workshops that assisted members with their wills and other legal affairs," he said.

The group also provided free legal advice to senior citizens and low-income people, he said.

Ms. Johnson was also a church greeter.

"She was responsible for making all those who entered church feel welcome and comfortable," Mr. Sembly said. "She was a very spiritual person who worked in many areas of church life. Unquestionably, it was a big part of her life."

Even though her illness prohibited her attendance at Sunday services in recent months, Ms. Johnson remained engaged in church affairs.

"She'd deflect focus from herself and ask about others. She greatly cared about our church and its members. That's what she wanted to talk about," Mr. Sembly said.

Ms. Johnson was a member of the National Bar Association, as well as the Monumental and Baltimore bar associations.

She was vice president of the Baltimore Chapter of Court-Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children, and was an active member of the Save the Children Fund.

Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. today at her church, 8615 Church Lane.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Sray-Webster Funeral Home in Bridgeton.

Also surviving are a son, Brian Johnson of Randallstown; a stepson, Rhaashan Johnson of Laurel; another sister, Janet Jackson of Bridgeton; and many nieces and nephews. Her marriage ended in divorce.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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