Wilma Kae (Gibbs, Nellis) Johnson
81, passed away on Saturday, March 2, 2013 in Fort Myers, Fla. Wilma was born Sept. 7, 1931 in Evansville, Ind., her parents were Gretna Gibbs and William Prentice. She was later adopted by Joseph Nellis and raised by he and Gretna in Dayton. She attended the Ohio State School for the Blind, graduating in 1950. After graduation, she entered the Sisters of the Lamb of God, serving as Sister Mary Phillip in Brest, France. She left the convent, returning to Dayton to work in the Ohio Food Stand Program at various locations, including the US Post Office downtown. Her efforts with this program lead her to Canton, Ohio in 1961; here she became affiliated with the Philomatheon Society for the Blind where she met her husband, Walter Johnson, whom she married on Sept. 8, 1962. Wilma worked at the Society's workshop and snack bars in Downtown Motors and outside of the Timken Company. She was a member of the American Council for the Blind and attended many conventions throughout the years. Wilma served as a board member of the Canton's Regional Transit Authority and was active with the Cincinnati Transit Authority after moving in 1989 to take a job with the Clovernook Printing House for the Blind. She retired in 2001 and moved to Fort Myers in February 2004. Wilma was a member of the Florida Council for the Blind and Lighthouse of SWFL. Wilma's life was filled with variety, which included raising canaries, having a family, cruises, learning the latest technology for the visually impaired, baking bread and being an avid reader.
Her death is preceded by husband, Walter. She is survived by brother, John Newman of Lima, Ohio; sister, Janine Nellis of Tampa, Fla.; three children, Wilietta Johnson Uhler of Wooster, Ohio, Wayne Johnson of Cincinnati; granddaughter, Jessica Johnson; Wanda Kae Johnson and grandchildren, Gigi Bush, Samantha Bush and Maxwell Johnson.
Donations in her honor may be made to the The Philomatheon Society for the Blind. (www.gendronfuneralhome.com) A gathering will be held at the Philomatheon Society of the Blind, 2701 West Tuscarawas Street, Canton, OH 44708 on Saturday, March 23, 2013 from 1-3 p.m.
Published in The Repository on Mar. 10, 2013