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Volunteer Helen Johnson remembered

Active at SCV Senior Center, the PAC and CTG

Posted: April 20, 2009 10:48 p.m.
Updated: April 21, 2009 8:00 a.m.

Helen Johnson was an active member of the Santa Clarita community, involved in the SCV Senior Center, the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons and the Canyon Theatre Guild.

Helen Johnson, a volunteer active with numerous local organizations, died Tuesday. She was 84.

Johnson devoted herself to causes throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

She spent several days a week to the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, worked as an usher at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons and volunteered at the Canyon Theatre Guild.

"She was an extremely active volunteer in the community for many years, and lived for the senior center," Johnson's daughter Shirley said. "She began volunteering almost the moment she began breathing."

She also played an active role in both Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA, and even served a year in the military under WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II, when she worked at the San Diego Naval Hospital as an obstetrician's assistant.

In 2003, Johnson, a local resident since 1994, was recognized as the Senior of the Year for Santa Clarita Valley, and received other awards for her volunteer efforts throughout the community.

In addition to her volunteer efforts, Johnson spent much time at the hospital making sure her friends felt better.

"She played the role of Florence Nightingale. She was always there for her friends," she said. "My mother had an uncanny sense about people. She always knew when people didn't feel well, and was always there when people needed her."

Johnson was born in 1924 in Oregon, and was a homemaker before she began working for the Los Angeles Unified School District as a pastry chef for various high school cafeterias.

With her husband Victor, Johnson spent nine years living in a motor home and traveling through the U.S. National Park system to volunteer as a park host.

Johnson's death was very sudden and unexpected, her daughter said. She had just returned from chaperoning a three-trip of 53 seniors to Laughlin, Nevada, and was in very good health, she said.

Johnson is survived by her son Robert Johnson, daughter Shirley Johnson-Laurino, five grandsons, a granddaughter and three great-grandsons.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 25 at First Presbyterian Church, 24317 Newhall Avenue.

A gathering to be held after the memorial is expected to draw hundreds of guests.

"It'll be a celebration of a wonderful life," she said.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Helen's honor to the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, Canyon Theatre Guild or First Presbyterian Church.


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