Blanche Dabney Johnson (Mrs. J. Edward Johnson) died Sunday evening, July 27, 2008, at her home on Krueger Hill south of Brownwood. She was a faithful and obedient servant of the Lord, a loving wife and mother, a trusting sister and friend, and a long-time community leader and activist in the central Texas region whose influence was felt statewide.
Blanche was the daughter of Ada Thomas Dabney and Joseph Wharton Dabney. She was born on her parentsí Dabney Hill Ranch east of Blanket, Texas, the youngest of the five Dabney girls. She graduated from Blanket High School at age 16 as Valedictorian. She graduated from Howard Payne College as Valedictorian and was voted most popular girl. She attended graduate school at the University of Colorado where she worked towards a Masterís degree in Speech. In 1938 she was called to Comanche, Texas, to teach high school English and served as the schoolís theatrical director. Later she accepted a teaching position in Brownwood, where she met the attorney J. Edward Johnson. They were married in Blanket on Aug. 20, 1941.
She and J. Edward moved to Dallas, where they raised their family before returning to Brownwood in 1960 and establishing their residence on Krueger Hill.
After her husbandís death, Blanche continued philanthropic work, volunteer activities, began writing and publishing books of poetry and song, and created needle-works which included a series of afghans, one of which won a blue ribbon at the 1968 State Fair of Texas. She enjoyed playing the piano, genealogy, gardening and playing games with her children and grandchildren. She was instrumental in the establishment of a SMU scholarship for ministerial students, and other scholarships at various universities, including the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom at Howard Payne University. In recognition of her tireless work in the fields of mentoring and philanthropy, she was honored by the Texas Womenís Chamber of Commerce in 1999 as one of the 100 Texas Women of the Century.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband J. Edward, her parents, and sisters Elizabeth (Mrs. Harry) Bettis, Ada (Mrs. Norman) Locks, Maud (Mrs. Neil) Shaw, and Jo (Mrs. Arch) Wimberly.
She is survived by children Kathleen Dabney of Brownwood, Ed Johnson Jr. and wife Mary of Fort Worth, Elizabeth Johnson of Brownwood, and Mitchell Johnson of Fort Worth; grandchildren Edward Johnson of Jacksonville, Fla., Jack Johnson of Baton Rouge, La., Philip Johnson of Clemson, S.C., and Ryan Harper of Boston; and nieces and nephews Harry Bettis of Graham, Zach Bettis of St. Louis, Ann Enloe of San Angelo, Bill McAlpine of Blanket, Carolyn Jackson, Elizabeth Lowrance, and Martha Gamblin all of Arlington, Joseph Bettis of Bellingham, Wa., Carlos Ashley of Llano, Roger Garrett of Granbury, Jonibeth Evans of Arlington, Adele Ashley Waide of Austin, Sarah Mainer Murphy of DeSoto, and their respective families.
The family suggests that memorials in her name be made to the First United Methodist Church of Brownwood, or to a charity of their choice.
Condolences, memories, and tributes can be left for the family at www.mem.com.
The family will receive visitors and friends at Davis-Morris Funeral Home between 6 and 8 on Saturday evening, Aug. 2. Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3, at Greenleaf Cemetery, followed by a Memorial Service at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Brownwood.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Don Scroggs, Bill Blagg, Nolberto Tobias, Christine Rose, Barbara Barron, Paula Leon, and Dr. Tom Byrd for the friendship, love, and support they have provided during the past few years.
Blancheís life was a product of hills. She was born and raised on one and lived and died on another, and they provided her with not so much a lofty perch, but rather a clear view. Her spirit will remain as long as there are hills in Texas.