“ I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made Heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
Dr. Mary Williams Johnson was born on Monday, February 27, 1939 to the Reverend P.W. Williams and Tena Mae Williams. She was sister to Peter Jr., Andrew, John Paul, Martha and Robert. Mary began her Christian journey under the loving guidance of her parents at the St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, Miami, Florida. As a child, she gave her life to Christ with a confident sense of knowing that a life of Christian service awaited her.
Mary married Arthur Lee Davis, a young marine, with whom she shared a lifetime of friendship and joint parenting of their daughter, Shama. Later, she married Johnnie Johnson, a hard working husband and wonderful stepfather, whose large and joyful family embraced them. Johnnie encouraged Mary in her educational pursuits.
Dr. Johnson began learning about the Christian way of life at St. Luke and she immersed herself for more than seventy years in activities and organization that prepared her for a life of service. As a kid and young adult, she was a member of the Red Circle, Junior Choir, and Usher Board. She later joined and served in leadership capacities in the Young Matrons, the Flower Club, the Mission Society, and her beloved Baptist Training Union. Dr. Johnson served as Church Secretary for twenty-seven years and as a Member of the Church’s Board of Directors.
Dr. Johnson was a proud graduate of Miami Northwestern Senior High School, where she was an active member of the Drama Club, Precision Marching Band Cadets, and Choir. Upon graduation, she matriculated at Florida Memorial College where she was a scholar, campus leader, and a member of the traveling performance Choir. Dr. Johnson has remained engaged through the years as an active supporter and benefactor of Florida Memorial College. It was at Florida Memorial where she prepared for a career in Public School Education and Christian Education.
Dr. Johnson was an educator in the Dade County Public Schools where she taught elementary school. Her career as an Educator was dedicated to the nurturing and development of the whole child because she believed that every child has the potential to “Rise to Purpose.” She especially valued her enduring and lifelong friendships with outstanding fellow educators, Mrs. Evelyn Jackson and Mrs. Billye Ivy.
Her life of Christian service has been dedicated to her church and by extension to the Florida East Coast Baptist Association, the Florida Congress of Christian Education, the Florida General Baptist Convention, Inc., and the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. In the Florida East Coast Baptist Association, Dr. Johnson served as a Board Member, Historian, and rose through the ranks to serve as President of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Association. In the Florida Congress of Christian Education, she served as an Instructor and was elected as Dean of the Congress which she enjoyed immensely because she was able to impart the value of a Christian education to young people by staying tuned in to the youth culture while also keeping a watchful eye. Her style of leadership was very effective with young people throughout the District where she was highly respected for her work on behalf of women and youth. Dr. Johnson also served as an Instructor in the Florida General Baptist Convention, Inc. for several years. She also served as Chairperson, of the Children’s Defense Fund of the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. She was pleased to serve as a Christian Education resource for ministers and layman alike.
Like many ladies of the church, Dr. Johnson loved hats, in particular, “church hats”. She liked the elegance and uniqueness of colorful and creative church hats. She was a certified church hat shopper—from thrift stores to conventions to exclusive boutiques—Mary loved the adornment of a beautiful church hat. As Mary would say she liked “The kind of hat that speaks to you and speaks for you.” Sometimes, during conventions, when she wasn’t shopping for hats, she would host a lunch or dinner, open house style, serving all the soul food favorites, especially her special pot of greens (more meat than greens). Mary had fun hosting family dinners and birthday parties as long as the festivities ended in time for her to watch her favorite Westerns.
Dr. Johnson steadfastly served her community through involvement with several civic and political organizations. She was a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta, Inc., Beta Tau Zeta Chapter. She served as the Board Chair of the Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Economic Development Corporation, and as the Board Chair of Tri-City Development. She was a member of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party and served as an area representative.
She will be remembered by many for her generous spirit, biblical teachings, keen sense of humor, and most of all her love of God as exemplified in her service to others.
On Friday, April 16, 2021, Dr. Johnson submitted to God’s divine will for her home going.
She was preceded in death by her former husband, Johnnie Johnson; her parents: the Reverend and Mrs. P.W. Williams; brothers: Peter, Andrew and Robert; sister: Martha and brother-in-law, the Reverend Jocephus Johnson; her niece: Sonya Williams; her grandniece: Jacquita Williams; and her grand nephews: DeVaughn LeDarrius, Sr. (Sheleshia) and Charles Williams.
Dr. Johnson leaves a very grateful and loving family to celebrate her life and to continue her legacy of service. They include her daughter: Attorney Shama Davis Hatcher, son-in-law, John E. Hatcher; beloved grandson, John Alexander Hatcher; dearest brother: the Reverend John Paul Williams; cherished nieces and nephews—Anthony Williams (Tonya), Daisy A. Williams, Tena Hutton, Peter H. Williams, I, Alvin N. Williams, Alan N. Williams (Valerie), Kathy White (Marvin), Darryl Williams (Felicia), Narissa (Al), and Kwame Williams, Patrick, Chantel, Jacqueline Allen (Wayne), Katrice, Eric Johnson (Natalia) and devoted Goddaughter, Lisa Williams (Kenny) and a host of wonderful grand nieces and nephews to continue her legacy—Jondelle, Saul, LaQuan, Akbar, Christian, Kamani, Malik, Chrissy, Anthony (Glennethia), Ta’Keria, Ashantay, A’Niyah, Sa’Niyah, Donald, Deleshia (Candee), DeStiney, De Vaughn LeDarrius, Jr., Shante Viya, Charlene (Darryl) Jackson, AJ, Carrie, Caitlin, Leilani, Kiera, Success, Finesse, Empress, Destiny, Sumayah, Taylor, James, Drew and Amari, David (Rasheeda), Andrew, Keith, Kevin, Rosa (Duran), Lawrence, Jeremiah, Jeremy, Joey, Shatavia, Marcus, Jamarcus, Dante, Damarie, Damaris, and Jaquan; other beloved family: Arthur Lee Davis, Inez Johnson, Daisy Williams, Patricia Moming-Lewis and Valore Cave.
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