Georgia Turner Johnson, 93, of Lafayette Hill Pennsylvania died peacefully on Thursday May 2 at the Hill at Whitemarsh. Born in Philadelphia, Mrs. Johnson was the daughter of Cdr. Allen D. and Ann D. Turner. She graduated from Concord High School Massachusetts in 1937. She attended Wheaton College for 2 years and left to start a career as a newspaper reporter on the staff of the Boston Transcript. She and her photographer Frankie Turner (not a relative) covered local stories for the daily paper. She left the Transcript to become the Society Editor for the Boston Traveler. Mrs. Johnson moved to New York City to accept a job as the Sportswear Editor of Womens Wear Daily and then left to become the Document Officer and Assistant to the China Section Chief of the United Nations in Lake Success, New York. After contracting pneumonia she returned to her hometown of Harvard Massachusetts to recuperate and accept a job as the Editor of the Turner Public Spirit in Ayer Massachusetts. After marrying Warne P. Johnson of New Jersey and moving to Upper Montclair in 1953, Mrs. Johnson channeled her civic spirit and love of writing and research into community projects that involved the betterment of Montclairs school system, animal welfare policies and practices and environment. During the late 1960s Mrs. Johnson and other residents formed Better Education for All Montclair (BEAM) an organization that focused on the benefits of neighborhood schools. In the 1970s Mrs. Johnson worked with veterinarian Dr. George Cameron and other animal lovers to shut down the outdated dog pound in Montclair and establish PAWs, a progressive animal shelter and adoption facility staffed by volunteers. In the 1980s a gypsy moth infestation and the towns plan to aerial spray with carcinogenic pesticides prompted Mrs. Johnson and others to establish Ecology Watch Montclair. As a result of their efforts to halt the aerial spraying and educate the town leaders and the public about the benefits of integrated pest management, Mrs. Johnson and her organization were cited by the New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean for their groundbreaking work. Her daughter Anne Anspach, of Pennsylvania, said about her mother She believed that we should all leave this world a little better than we found it and my mother did just that. Mrs. Johnson is survived by her husband, her daughter and her son Michael Johnson of Pasco, Washington, as well as 5 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. There will be a memorial service for family and friends in Harvard Massachusetts on August 10.
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Published in The Harvard Post from May 15 to May 22, 2013