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Oma Lee Blackwood Johnston

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Oma Lee Blackwood Johnston Obituary
Oma Lee Blackwood Johnston

Oma Lee Blackwood Johnston passed away on January 21, 2014. Born on January 16, 1925 in Columbus Arkansas, Oma was one of nine children born to Lettie and Thurman Blackwood. She was raised on the family farm that was located east of Tollette, Arkansas. Oma attended Saratoga High School where she was an honor student, All-State in basketball, and valedictorian of the senior class of 1942. It was only four months into her senior year, when World War II began. Her older brothers enlisted, and thankfully made it back home at the end of the war. Folks didn't talk much about those difficult times of the depression or the heartbreak of war. The family pulled closer together, and it was time to move forward the best that they could. After graduation, Oma worked in Houston for several years doing secretarial work for Humble Oil which later became Exxon. She attended the University of Houston for two years taking night classes after a full day at work. Oma moved to South Pasadena in 1948. She worked in Public Relations for the Air Force. She met dignitaries including General Omar Bradley and familiar entertainers/actors such as Bob Hope and Ronald Reagan among many others. She was beautiful, poised, and could talk to anyone and make them feel at ease. Oma and Bill married on January 21, 1950. They were one of the first residents on their street in the Hollywood Riviera section of Redondo Beach. With her two children, Kathy and Michael, it was time for PTA, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts. She also enjoyed volunteering at Little Company of Mary Hospital where she worked with patients in admissions. She loved playing tennis, bridge, and was a great golfer who never had a lesson. She was a natural athlete. When Bill became Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District in 1971, Oma was at his side using those great PR skills to help him in whatever setting they might find themselves. They have been a remarkable team for 64 years, dedicated to each other throughout their lives. Oma waged a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's. Bill was by her side each day, providing her with the most loving care. Surrounded by her family and loving, long-time caregivers, Oma passed away on January 21st, which happened to be their 64th wedding anniversary. She is survived by her husband Bill, daughter Kathy (Gary), son Michael (Francine), and grandchild, William. The family is so grateful for the support and for the warmth extended by the many dear friends over the years. A private ceremony celebrating Oma's life was held at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes on January 28, 2014. Please sign the guestbook at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.
Published in Daily Breeze on Feb. 18, 2014
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