Victoria 'Vici' Johnson
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HURDLE MILLS - Dr. Victoria (Vici) Johnson, of Hurdle Mills, passed Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, after a long bout with lung cancer. She was 70 years old.
Born in Lexington, N.C, she was the only child of Thelma and Huey Roach. Moving to Salisbury after her mother's death, Vici attended Boyden High School and graduated in the Class of 1959. Her aunt, Lillian Gwynn Fleagle (Aunt Plumpsy), helped raise her during these difficult years and would forever hold Vici's deepest affections.
Vici moved to Chapel Hill and was married, serving as a librarian at UNC-Chapel Hill while her first husband attended the University. Eventually settling back in Lexington, Vici had four children, Kelly, Collier, Matthew and Hunter. Over the ensuing years, she raised her children alongside many dear friends and actively participated in the Charity League, the Arts Council and numerous other civic organizations.
In 1974, she divorced and began raising her children as a single mother. That same year, she entered Davidson County Community College in pursuit of a degree in Psychology. Splitting time between her studies, part-time jobs and raising her children, she ultimately earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from UNC-Greensboro in 1990 and worked in private practice for nearly 10 years.
While at Davidson County Community College, she met the love of her life, Sammy Johnson, whom she would marry three years later in 1977. She and Sammy moved to Greensboro in 1978 and worked tirelessly to raise four children, often working more than one job to make ends meet. Sammy provided the support his wife needed to meet her own goals and to give the children a stable, loving home. Sammy would eventually adopt her four children, and they would remain loving husband and wife.
In 1997, at the age of 56, Vici entered medical school at East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine. Consistent with her deep commitment to the well-being of others, she joined the Rural Practitioner Program, designed for those willing to serve as Family Physicians in underserved areas of the state. According to East Carolina, Vici Johnson would become the oldest person on record to graduate from a major U.S. medical school.
True to her commitment, Dr. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D. took a position in 2004 with Caswell Family Medical Clinic in Yanceyville. Extremely popular with her patients, "Dr. Vici" always ran late because of her commitment to giving every individual the care and attention they needed. Despite the heavy demands of a rural clinic, she worked 60-plus hour weeks for four years before eventually joining Orange Family Medical of Hillsborough, a move that placed her much closer to the home she loved. In Hurdle Mills, she and Sammy shared a "Gentlemen's Farm" with her youngest son and his family.
Vici was an exceptional mother and wife. Her commitment to her four children and husband was unshakable. She was also an avid reader and loved the outdoors. She loved animals and despite delivering hundreds of babies and doing years of Emergency Room work, she could never stand to see an animal in pain. She was a gentle soul with a fierce drive and determination that helped lead her to many personal and professional accomplishments. She will be deeply missed by her family, lifelong friends and many, many patients who thought of her as more than a doctor but also someone who truly cared.
Vici and Sammy have four children and nine grandchildren (William, Whitaker, Maddison, Carol, Sarah, Sophia, Lily, August and Leiden).
Service: She will be remembered in a memorial service to be held at her home, 9339 Tapp Road, Hurdle Mills, N.C., on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 12 p.m.
Memorials: The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to Cornucopia Cancer Support Center, 5517 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., No. 1000, Durham, NC 27707.
Clements Funeral Services in Durham is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Salisbury Post on Jan. 12, 2012