June 23, 1929 - December 23, 2019
With her sense of humor, whimsy and curiosity intact, Nancy Echols Johnson died peacefully, on December 23, 2019, at her home at Touchmark in Bend, OR, surrounded by her family and caregiver, along with Millie, Mickey and the gang.
Born and raised in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, she taught archery before attending Denison University in Granville, OH, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1950. Awarded a Rotary Foundation Fellowship for post-graduate study in England, she spent a year at the London School of Economics, where she met and became engaged to another American, Bruce T. Johnson. Their keen interest in travel took them throughout Europe and to Africa, Asia, India, Iran, Australia and New Zealand, sometimes with their son, Curt, in tow! An Intelligence Analyst for the CIA, Nancy first worked at Agency Headquarters and then at several overseas posts with Bruce.
Additionally, she served as Vice-President for Planned Parenthood in Washington, DC. Her last role was with the Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, where she managed the staff of the County’s Tenant-Landlord Commission.
Nancy retired from County government in 1994, after 20 years of service. In 2003, she and Bruce moved from their McLean, VA home to the Magnolias at Leisure World in Lansdowne, VA, where she served on the Board of Directors.
Moving to Bend, OR in 2016, Nancy loved getting outdoors in her powerchair in central and coastal Oregon, delighting in the geology as part of her lifelong passion for rocks and mountains including her beloved Broken Top. Whale-watching, forest and river walks, and listening to the sounds of nature also captivated her.
She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Bruce T. Johnson, her son, Curt Johnson and daughter-in-law, Toby Gewirtz, all of Bend, OR.
While our family is deeply saddened, we are remembering that Nancy lived a wonderful life for 90 years. Whether riding atop an elephant, watching a Himalayan sunset, tapping her feet to Irish music at a Dublin pub, creating stunning Japanese flower arrangements or exploring a great new restaurant, Nancy’s sense of adventure kept her engaged with life.
Contributions in her memory may be made to Planned Parenthood.