Mrs. Elsie B. Johnson, age 93, of Charlottesville, Va. departed this life peacefully on Sunday, July 23, 2023, at her home. She was born on February 20, 1930, in Charlottesville, Va. to the late Floyd and Frances Banks. Elsie is predeceased by her husband of 62 years, Wyatt Johnson; daughter, Katina “Tina” Johnson Jones; brothers, James and Charles Banks, Sr.; sister, Juanita Bowles; niece, Elsie Juanita Chapman; and son-in-law, Vincent R. Jones, Sr.
Elsie accepted Christ at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church at age 10 and remained a faithful member until her passing. As a member, she served on the choir, the Missionary Board, the Usher Board, and numerous other ministries. She graduated from Jefferson High School, attended West Virginia State College, and graduated from the Jackson P. Burley - University of Virginia (UVA) Nursing Program. In April 2019, Elsie was recognized as one of the UVA Nursing School’s “Hidden Nurses,” who were pioneers from the 1950s-’60s segregated school and not allowed entry into UVA due to their race. Upon completion of the LPN program, she went on to work at the later desegregated UVA Hospital, rising to the rank of charge night nurse in the NICU (formerly known as the newborn special care unit). After many years of service, she decided to stay at home and care for her children. Once her kids were older, she rejoined the workforce and accepted a position with the City of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department, from where she ultimately retired.
Elsie and Wyatt were the last family to move from Vinegar Hill when eminent domain forced them from their home; however, they were determined to continue home ownership. Their story is featured in two films: That World is Gone: Race and Displacement in a Southern Town (Field Studio) and Raised/Razed (A Maupin Town Media Production).
Elsie was a loving and caring wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, and “neighborhood/ community mom” to many. She didn’t hesitate to get folks in line, but always made them feel loved. She was also an excellent cook, who was known for the most delicious homemade rolls!
Elsie B. Johnson will never be forgotten. She leaves to cherish her memory: her children, Kathy Johnson Harris and Wyatt E. Johnson, of Charlottesville, Va., and Mia Johnson Bennett (Michael) of Ashburn, Va.; six grandchildren, Vincent Jones, Jr. and Patrice A. Harris of Charlottesville, Va., Aaron Locket of Richmond, Va., Isiah Jones, Sr. (Jasmin) of Herndon, Va., Gavin Bennett of Ashburn, Va., and Chance Johnson of Stanardsville, Va.; and four great grandchildren, Tamira Jones of Woodbridge, Va., and Isiah Jones, Jr., Zaria Jones, and Gianna Jones of Herndon, Va. She also leaves a sister, Catherine Farrar of Durham, N.C. and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
The family extends special thanks to Hospice of the Piedmont, Dr. Jonathan Garneau, Dr. Johann Hsu, Nurse Amanda Clemmets, and the staff at the UVA Pantops Infusion and the UVA Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Centers.
Elsie’s Celebration of Life will be held at noon on Monday, July 31, 2023, at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, 105 Lankford Avenue, Charlottesville, VA, with Reverend Dr. Alvin Edwards officiating. Interment will follow at Oakwood Cemetery. The family will receive friends at 11:00 a.m.
The family suggests donations be made in her memory to the Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church Building Fund, 105 Lankford Avenue, Charlottesville, VA 22902.
Hill & Wood is responsible for arrangements. Condolences may be sent to her family on the Tribute Wall.