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Katherine Ray Johnson


Friday, April 21, 2017

Westminster, Vt. — Katherine Ray Johnson 81, passed away on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital. Her two sons, Angus and Duncan were at her side. 

Born Katherine Edith Ray on June 17, 1935 in Linville, N.C. to Jack Ray and Frances Pritchard Furr. Katherine spent her formative years in Newland, N.C. where she was adventuresome and loved exploring the outdoors, and was an active 4-H member who excelled at sewing.

Katherine earned her Bachelors Degree in English and French at Flora MacDonald College in Red Springs, N.C. in 1957. She relocated to New England to begin her teaching career. She married Donald Douglas Johnson in 1958 and they had three children together, Angus, Jenny and Duncan. Katherine divorced Donald in 1964 and moved with her children to  Rockport, Mass. She later moved to Piermont, N.H. in 1978 with her son Duncan. Katherine spent 37 years in Piermont, and in 2015 she resettled in Westminister, Vt. where she actively reestablished her gallery and gardens.

Katherine held many jobs during her lifetime, including special education teacher, art instructor, baker, housecleaner and camp cook. Katherine was a loyal friend and volunteered tirelessly. Artwork and Gardening played central roles in Katherine's life and created extensive gardens wherever she lived.   She worked in different mediums including painting, sculpture (wood and stone), fabric arts, textiles and print making. Her artwork was displayed regionally and she maintained a gallery in her home for many years.

Katherine was also a wonderful cook and baker. She was well known for her southern-style iced tea, fried chicken, breads and homemade soups, and canned jams and pickles. Katherine was most content having conversations while watching people enjoy her food. Katherine's enthusiasm for learning and knowledge remained strong throughout here life. She loved reading, music of many kinds, exploring nature and gardens, visiting museums and attending talks and other educational events.

Katherine was predeceased by her parents, and two brothers Daniel and Richard Ray.  Survivors include her three children, Angus Roy Johnson of Sharon, Vt.,  Duncan MacKenzie Johnson of Bellows Falls, Vt. and Jenny (Johnson) Upham and her husband Brad Upham of East Lansing, Mich., three step-children Beth (Johnson) Thompson of East Corinth, Vt., Douglas Johnson and his wife Beverly of South Jordan, Utah, and Holly (Johnson) Moore and her husband Blaine of Sharon, Vt., two sisters, Jane (Ray) Kneece and her husband Davis of Irving, Texas, and Martha (Ray) Mogray of Hickory, N.C., two grandchildren Davious and John Upham, several step grandchildren, Roy and Ricky Thompson, Jason and Shane Moore, and Trevor and Todd Johnson, and her beloved poodle, Sammy.

A memorial service is planned for early July 2017 in Bellows Falls, Vt. Details will be posted on Katherine Ray Johnson's Facebook page.