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In Memory of . . . Janet B. Johnson (1942-2015)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 7, 2015
The Rev. Janet Boykin Johnson died on March 25, 2015 at the age of 72.

Janet was born on June 4, 1942 to Thelma and Hubert Dallas. She graduated from Hunter College, in 1966, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and from the University of Chicago with a Master of Social Work in 1972. She went on to attend Starr King School for the Ministry, and graduated with a Master of Divinity in 2002.

Rev. Johnson was ordained to the ministry in 2002 by the First Unitarian Society of Chicago, IL. Subsequently, she served as a chaplain to cancer patients at a hospital in Richmond, CA. She left the hospital in 2004 and started a private spiritual direction practice. From 2004 to 2007 she worked in the practice and as a part time minister to the Mt. Diablo Church of Walnut Creek, CA. She was called to serve as consulting minister to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Cortland, NY, in 2008, and served at Cortland until her retirement in 2013.

Prior to serving the ministry, Janet worked as a social worker within the Chicago Public School System for 18 years. During that time, Janet was also an active member of the First Unitarian Society of Chicago, and caretaker to two grandsons, whom she adopted, Jason Johnson and (the late) Justin Johnson.

Janet was very involved in community affairs, and ministered to the public long before receiving fellowship. While living in Chicago, she was on the Board of Directors of the River Oaks Towne Houses Cooperative and was a member of Amnesty International. Also during this time, from 1975 to 1992, she served as host and program coordinator of the international nonprofit, Experiment in International Living. Her duties included hosting exchange students from Germany, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil. After moving to California, Janet sat on several pastoral care hospital boards, and co-managed a clothing store operated by the Chaplaincy for the Homeless.

Janet enjoyed camping, knitting, crocheting, reading poetry, and listening to music

Janet is survived by her two daughters, Kimari Johnson and Kairis (Boykin) Bonella; her grandsons, Jason Johnson, Joseph Clayton, Jr., Johann Curry, Nieko Bonella, Angelo Bonella and Anton Klinnert; a son-in-law, Valentin Klinnert; step-children, Michele Freeny and Teren Johnson; first cousin, Thelma Williams and many distant cousins.

A memorial service was held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, 2015 at the First Unitarian Church of Ithaca, 306 N. Aurora St., Ithaca, NY 14850. There will be another memorial service at a later date for family and friends outside of the Ithaca area.

For more information about where to send cards, flowers, and/or donations, please e-mail

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