Nancy Anne Clark Johnson of Conyers, Georgia, died on May 7, 2019 following a collapse on May 3 and a brief ICU stay. Her memorial service will be on Saturday, June 8, 2019, with details below.
J. Norman and Virginia Ray Clark raised their three daughters to think for themselves, be independent and serve their communities as resourceful contributors to society. This advice certainly described the youngest daughter, Nancy, born September 3, 1958. One of a kind, original, creative are only introductory words to describe a daughter, sister and mother who defined the word fun with her quirky sense of humor, down home Appalachian common sense, and brave spirit who soared above the health issues she gamely faced.
A graduate of Rockdale County High School in 1976, Nancy remained true to her high school friends throughout her life even as she added new friends everywhere she turned. She was an Alpha Chi Omega member at the University of Georgia from which she received her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1980. She married Michael Johnson and taught in Buford City Elementary Schools where her imagination and excitement about reading produced a classroom castle and 32 book reading program for her third graders that landed her a runner up position as Georgia statewide Teacher of the Year. She stressed the value of education, and earned her Masters of Education Degree from Georgia State University in 1982, and her Specialist in Education six year certificate from Mercer University in 1995. Nancy was a fierce mama bear for her beloved daughters India Camille Johnson and Michael Caroline Johnson of whom she was endlessly proud. They survive her to carry on her special joie de vivre.
She was an amazing, hilarious and loyal sister to Carol Virginia Clark and Jean Clark Workman, and a loving daughter to her parents. One of her fondest memories was helping her grandfather in his country store, E.C. Ray's Grocery on Highway 155, and learning love, crafting and crocheting from her grandmother, Bertha Phillips Ray. She loved her family, nephew Phillips Stone Workman and her two nieces Natalie and Anna Johnson and leaves behind a vast array of cousins on both sides of an extended family. She especially enjoyed the Clark family reunion and seeing friends at Shingleroof and Salem annual camp meetings.
After a divorce, Nancy moved back to her roots in Rockdale County to pursue her passion for teaching at J.H. House Elementary School where she instilled her own love of learning and reading in every student she taught, spearheaded a drive for a new playground still on site, and created a magical learning environment in her classroom like no other. Being back in Conyers reunited her with her high school sweetheart, John Wilson, who has exemplified kindness, compassionate caring and has shared her zest for travel adventures all over the world. Their prom picture is still in his wallet.
Not everyone aspires to be a funeral director, but that was Nancy's dream to provide comfort and hope in a time of sorrow and to eventually own her own funeral home. To that end, when she could no longer teach, she graduated third in her class in March 2017 from Gupton Jones Mortuary College in Decatur, Georgia notwithstanding a stroke only two months before. Her grit and determination made "Miss Nancy" a star of her class and she unselfishly gave her body to Gupton Jones in appreciation, for cremation upon her passing.
Nancy was active in Union United Methodist Church where her favorite ministry was the food pantry. Her alto voice was a fixture in the choir during her MYF formative years there and gave her a lifelong love of music, especially old hymns. Her generosity of spirit, non-judgmental approach to life and open mind made her a gracious listener and wise dispenser of advice if asked. Whether designing her own brand of statement necklaces in food-centric themes such as English peas with onions or Blackberries and Cream, writing fascinating short stories, spending quality time working in her yard, or adventuring with her beloved dog, Princey, Nancy Johnson was a sport model, a wonder and delight whose spark is sorely missed.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested contributions to Union United Methodist Church, 4600 Highway 138, Stockbridge, Georgia 30281, or Rockdale House for Women where she was an active member of the Board at 995 Milstead Avenue, Conyers, Georgia 30012 or the Parkinson's Foundation, Attn: Donor Services, Georgia, 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami, Florida 33131.
A celebratory memorial service will take place on Saturday, June 8, 2019, at 11 a.m. at Union United Methodist Church (address above), followed by a reception at the church for all, and followed by a post reception party at her home in Conyers.