Susan Ann Johnson passed away peacefully on her way to heaven on July 4th 2019 after a nearly 4 week battle with a series of health conditions at Harlingen Medical Center.
Susan was born on July 7, 1945 in Del Rio Texas and grew up in San Antonio, Texas. She moved to Harlingen, Texas in 1971 when her husband Johnny’s father died and they were faced with John’s mother who was not well, his brother a student at Texas A&M and a business which would not continue without someone to manage it. Johnny received a hardship discharge from the Air Force in order to move to Harlingen and take over the family business.
She is survived by her husband Johnny Johnson with whom she celebrated 55 years of marriage on July 3rd;daughter Deidrea Johnson Kiesling, sons-in law- Russell Kiesling and Timothy Hatfield , brother-n-law Tom Johnson and grandchildren John Joseph Pankhurst , Savannah Leann Hatfield Deis, Abigail Rae Hatfield, Chloe Paige Kiesling, Russell Wayne Kiesling, Jr., and Colette Marjory Kiesling.
She is preceded in death by her daughter Marjory Luise Hatfield (2/27/2013), her mother Marjorie Acosta Bates (2/27/2003) and her father Irving Luis Bates.
In the 1980s Susan worked part-time in her husband Johnny’s office and had earned a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from the American College. Susan attended formal education later in life with a BA in Philosophy from Pan American University in 1998 and then went on to earn a MA from the General Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York, New York in 2006. She subsequently went on to work for the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church serving as the Director of Operations.
One of Susan’s greatest and most proud accomplishments was receiving the “Holy Woman: Celebrating a Saint” award from the Artemisa Bowden Union of Black Episcopal Chapter in the Diocese of West Texas for initiating the extensive research as the Diocesan Historian and presenting the 2012 resolution proposing Dr. Artemisa Bowden to be included among the “Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating a Saint” Award.
Susan had a passion for the arts since childhood with a background in dance and theater. She taught dance while she and her husband were in the Air Force. She was a founding member of the Harlingen Country Playhouse and gave lectures on art and music to 5th graders through the Harlingen Junior League. Susan has been an active member in several boards and organizations in Harlingen including being a founding member of Harlingen Concert Ballet and an early board member of Rio Fest. She also served on the board of the RGV arts council, which sponsored the San Antonio Symphony in doing concerts in the Valley and was a member of the Harlingen Concert Board. Susan is also a Board Member of the Episcopal Women’s Historical Project (EWIP).
Susan greatest joy in life was being a devoted wife, mother and grandmother and her deeply spiritual life which included being a member of St. Alban’s Episcopal church since 1971 and becoming an Oblate (ObJN) of the Order of Julian of Norwich in 2004.
Susan and Johnny loved to travel and have been on 35 cruises together all over the world. She was also a passionate Disney “devotee” and many fond family memories were captured at Disneyland and Disney World. In her most recent years, Susan found great comfort and sisterhood with her Chapter T PEO.
A celebration of Susan’s life will be held at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Harlingen, Texas on Saturday July 13 at 10:00 AM with a reception following. Officiating at the service will be The Right Reverend David M. Reed.
Thank you to her church family at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and her PEO sisters for their loving support during this difficult time. We would also like to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to the extraordinary staff at Harlingen Medical Center and Dr. Diana H. Lozano, MD for all the kindness, caring, and loving support provided to both Susan and the family.
Susan’s favorite quote from Julian of Norwich, “All Shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley at 514 South E Street Harlingen, TX 78550.