Aug. 31, 1944 – May 29, 2013
Roberta Jean Johnson (nee Zachary) passed away on May 29, after a brief but valiant battle with cancer. She passed peacefully at her home in Vacaville, in the presence of those who loved her most.
Roberta was born Aug. 31, 1944 in Upland, CA to Robert (Bob) and Ila Zachary. The youngest of three sisters, Roberta was named in honor of her father, whom she adored. When Roberta was four, Bob and Ila moved the family north to Vallejo, where Roberta would spend most of the rest of her life.
Roberta attended Vallejo High School (Class of '62), where she met the love of her life, J. Brent Johnson. They were married on the Aug. 12, 1961. Like many new young couples they struggled at first, but they were determined to prove the naysayers wrong. Brent became an apprentice Marine Machinist at Mare Island Naval Ship Yard, and they soon started a family. Daughter, Tracy (TJ) arrived in 1962. Their son, Joel followed in 1966, and shortly thereafter they purchased a home. Roberta was a fastidious homemaker and was also very involved in her children's schooling, logging many hours of volunteer work in their classrooms at Steffan Manor Elementary. She was so well regarded by the Vallejo City Unified School District that as soon as the children were old enough she became an employee. She worked as an Administrative Assistant at many Vallejo Schools, but spent most of her career at what was then Vallejo Junior High, where she was well loved by co-workers and students alike.
Roberta retired from the school district in 1994, the same year that Brent retired from the shipyard. After many years of hard work, they finally had some time to enjoy life and each other's company. But it wasn't all relaxation. Roberta was actively involved with her VHS graduating class and served on the Reunion Committee for many years. She was a dedicated caregiver for many years; first for Brent's aging parents, then for her own parents as well as her uncle Jack McCoy and his wife Mary. It was in Roberta's nature to care for others, and she seemed happiest when she was able to ease another's suffering.
Roberta was fiercely loyal to her family and to her many friends; conversely, if she felt you had wronged her or someone she loved, she was slow to forget or forgive. With both Irish and Apache blood running through her veins, she was a formidable opponent, but with her on your side you felt blessed. She was a woman of uncommon strength, character, bravery and determination; she was a loving and caring daughter, wife, sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. Her absence is one that will be felt and mourned by many.
Roberta was preceded in death by her father-in-law and mother-in-law, J. Dow and Nadia Johnson; her sister, Patricia Posedel; and her father and mother, Bob and Ila Zachary.
Roberta is survived by her adoring husband of over 51 years, Brent; her daughter and son-in-law, TJ and Del Royer; her son and daughter-in-law Joel and Melissa Johnson; her sister and brother-in-law, Gail and Roger Waterman; grandchildren, Nicole, Sophia and Irie-Ann; great-grandchildren, Sonny, Emery and Norah; many aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as friends too numerous to mention.
There will be a memorial service at 10 a.m., on June 14, at Skyview Memorial Lawn, 200 Rollingwood Drive, Vallejo. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation to the
in Roberta's name.
Arrangements under the direction and care of Skyview Memorial Lawn, 707-644-7474.
Skyview Memorial Lawn
200 Rollingwood Drive Vallejo, CA 94591
Published in TimesHeraldOnline on June 8, 2013