Lucie Threlkeld McKee Jenkins Johnson has gone to Glory, November 15, 2016.
She was the daughter of Alexander Heady Jenkins and Mary Lee Igleheart, born on February 10, 1927, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. She was a child of the Great Depression who was sensitive to hardships of those times and who carried lessons of personal responsibility and practical resourcefulness through life. She began working in high school at the Elizabethtown post office when many young men were away during wartime. Raised a Kentucky Baptist and deeply influenced by Eleanor Roosevelt, she became a social worker to help others. Lucie was graduated from Averett College and Wake Forest University where she was elected to Mortar Board. She began her career in child welfare in Knoxville, where she met a young veteran and engineer, also from Kentucky, working for the TVA. Glenn Edgar Johnson followed Lucie to New Orleans and they married in 1952. She received her MSW from Tulane University.
After starting a family in Louisville, the Johnsons migrated with other Reynolds Metals employees to Richmond, Virginia, in 1959. In Richmond, Lucie’s casework included families with private agencies, juveniles at the Janie Porter Barrett School for Girls, and inmates at the Virginia State Farm for Women. She joined the School of Social Work at Richmond Professional Institute (VCU) and worked with Dr. George Kalif to organize statewide educational programming for professionals and community groups involved with social services.
When the energy crisis of the 1970s sparked the use of aluminum for lighter cars, the family relocated to Detroit with Reynolds. There, Lucie taught social work at Wayne State University before helping to set up an oncology care center at Harper Hospital. She continued medical social work at Mt. Sinai Hospital before moving to North Carolina. The Johnsons were active in retirement at Carolina Meadows in Chapel Hill. When she learned that a large number of Carolina Meadows residents were also retired social workers, she organized an annual luncheon during National Social Workers Month and the group participated in an oral history project with UNC-Chapel Hill. The stories they told documented a generation of women who helped with post-War refugees and displaced persons, adoption services, and social programs of the Great Society in the 1960s.
Lucie was involved her entire life with church and community. Her expertise in early childhood education was tapped to plan the highly regarded River Road Church Preschool in Richmond. She was a scout leader, member of the Ridgeview Garden Club, and clerk of the session at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church. Her homemaking talents were many: she could sew anything from a Vogue pattern to upholstery and drapes. She loved needlework and textiles, lace and linens, costumes and fashion, and American craftwork in glass, ceramics, and furniture. She grew up steeped in stories of ancestors who settled the Kentucky frontier; Thomas Lincoln built a house on her father’s farm in Elizabethtown. She was a lifelong museum-goer who planned trips around research in libraries and historical societies. Lucie’s station wagon picnics on family vacations were legendary roadside tailgates. Her shrimp creole and Kentucky jam cake were family favorites and she was a gracious hostess who loved to entertain for “company” on any occasion. She donated her extensive collection of regional and ethnic cookbooks to the University of Delaware Library and her vintage clothing collection to the Savannah College of Art and Design. She was active in program planning for a number of organizations: the CDCXVIIC, DAR, Germanna Foundation, Huguenot Society, National Society of Colonial Dames of America, and the Society of the War of 1812.
In 2015, Lucie relocated to First Community Village in Columbus, OH, where she passed. The family is grateful to all of the caregivers, lifelong friends, and relatives who supported her, especially the Huffman and Igleheart cousins. Lucie was predeceased by her husband of 50 years in 2003; their remains will rest together in Arlington National Cemetery. She is survived by four children and seven grandchildren: Glenn Alexander (Julia White, Columbus, OH), Lucie Rebecca (Thomas Melvin, Newark, DE), Catherine Stuart (NYC), Elizabeth Threlkeld (John Alters, NYC); and Benjamin Stuart, Emma Anne, and Rachel Elizabeth Johnson; Page Kremer, Dylan MacKenzie, and Ryann Elizabeth Keating; and Lucie Elizabeth Melvin.
Arrangements by Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Services www.schoedinger.com
The family suggests memorial contributions to Save the Children www.savethechildren.org
or River Road Church, Baptist, in Richmond www.rrcb.org