Ann B. Johnson, 94, a pioneer in the field of aging, passed away on October 19, 2014, at Carol Woods Retirement Community in Chapel Hill. She is survived by her daughter Deirdre and her sister Joyce Veith. She was predeceased by her son Craig and three sisters, Millicent, Monica and Frances.
Ms. Johnson spent her early years in Philadelphia and after graduating from Temple, she held various jobs during World War II. For one such role as a welder, she became the first female member of the Boilermakers union. After completing her MSW, she held several positions in Louisiana and Florida where her interests in services for older adults emerged.
After a family move to the Triangle, she began a 23 year career as Executive Director of the Durham Coordinating Council for Senior Citizens. In Durham, she started the first senior center in public housing in North Carolina in 1968 and the first adult day care program in the southeastern US in 1973.
Ms. Johnson was a leader in the aging provider network in the State as well as on the national scene, particularly in the development of standards for adult day care programs and senior centers. She was a board member of the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and chair of NCOA’s National Institute of Senior Centers. NCOA honored her with the prestigious Geneva Mathiasen Award for her significant contributions, and the National Institute of Senior Centers presented her with a Founders Award.
She was the first recipient of the North Carolina Division of Aging’s George L. Maddox Award in 1990. The Division named its Institute of Senior Center Management for her in 2001. In 2000, she was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for service to the State.
Both during her long career and in retirement as an unpaid advocate for aging issues, Ms. Johnson held numerous offices and roles. She served on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging under 5 North Carolina governors and was a long-time chair of that body. She was a delegate to three White House Conferences on Aging. She served as president of the NC Coalition on Aging, the NC Senior Citizens Association and Friends of the Chapel Hill Senior Center (now Seymour Center) and was the Orange County Delegate to the Senior Tar Heel Legislature for over 10 years. She was a valued advisor to both the UNC Institute on Aging and the Duke Long Term Care Resources Program and an active member of Kiwanis.
A memorial service for Ms. Johnson will be held on November 6 at 4:00 p.m. in the Assembly Hall at Carol Woods Retirement Community located at 750 Weaver Dairy Road in Chapel Hill. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Friends of the Seymour Center, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.