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1937 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
JOHNSON, Harry Leroy, II Of Brookline, age 81, passed away on November 29 after a three year battle with Parkinson's Disease and dementia. Harry is survived by his wife Nancy of nearly 57 years; their son Mark Johnson, whose wife Deborah is deceased, and their sons Adam, and David and his wife Tiffany; and their daughter Melinda (Johnson) Towne and husband Richard, and their daughters Kimberly, Rebecca, and Gwendolyn. He is preceded in death by parents Dr. Harry L. Johnson, Sr., and Frances (Robinson) Johnson. Born in Granite City, IL, Harry met his wife Nancy while both were students at Boston University. After a two year enlistment in the U.S. Army, he and his wife ultimately settled in Brookline, MA where they resided since 1965 and raised their family. He worked for thirty years at Polaroid Corporation, primarily as an executive speech writer, company spokesperson, and director of community relations. He was a fixture in the community who was committed to civil rights activities all his adult life. He served on the boards of more than three dozen local, state and national not-for-profit agencies – primarily agencies related to education, youth employment, pay disparity, low-income housing, business involvement in South Africa and social justice for women, LGBT community, and minorities. He staffed more than 100 workshops on racism, and had a lifelong commitment to and involvement with many marginalized groups seeking affirmation of their civil rights: women, youth, the elderly, immigrants, the LGBT community, the economically oppressed, and the physically and emotionally disabled. He was an active United Methodist churchman for more than fifty years, serving on a variety of local, district, conference, and national church boards and committees, as well as preached more than two hundred times at various churches. He truly knew that it really does take a village to raise a child, and much of his volunteering was related to education. In fact, he volunteered for Boston Partners in Education for more than 35 years, making motivational speeches and sharing his poetry in hundreds of classrooms. Fortunately, he always had the time to do the things that made him feel useful as the people he most admired: the people who day after day, do the things that help a community to be a community. Helping them – whether they're working with street kids or homeless families, the mentally ill or the academically gifted; whether they're teachers in classrooms or scientists in laboratories – always made him feel that he contributed something of value. Harry was many different things to many different people, however perhaps the most important thing was that he was a loving and caring son, husband, father, and grandfather. He will be deeply missed by his immediate and extended family, and the multitude of friends and acquaintances he made over a lifetime. Services will be held on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 9:00 am at the United Parish Church, 210 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly suggests that memorial gifts in Harry's memory be made to the Brookline Senior Center, 93 Winchester Street, Brookline, MA 02446 where Harry and Nancy volunteered and were actively involved for many years.
Published in The Boston Globe on Dec. 9, 2018
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