Sandra J. Johnson

1943 — 2012

by Phil Johnson

Sandy’s family lived in Weymouth, Massachusetts and she was born in nearby Quincy Hospital. She was raised in the Pilgrim Covenant Congregational Church in Quincy. Church was a big part of her life. The neighborhood library was a favorite place of hers. She loved school and loved singing with her next door neighbors. She was thankful for these wholesome influences on her young life.

Sandy graduated with Latin Honors from Weymouth high school and went to North Park College in Chicago. She loved college and graduated with majors in French and English in 1965.

After her Junior year, Sandy and a friend hitched a ride home to Massachusetts for summer break with Phil Johnson in his ’62 Falcon. That was the beginning of something new and lasting for them both. After her senior year, she married Phil and the couple moved to Minneapolis. She taught French and English at Penn Junior High School for four years. She resigned from Penn when she became the mother of Eric in 1970.

Sandy loved being a full-time mother. Several close friends had babies at that time as well. There was a lot of action and a lot of fun. The Johnson family moved from Minneapolis to beautiful Haddam Neck, Connecticut in 1974 where Phil was pastor for two years. Sandy loved Haddam Neck. She and Eric would walk through the countryside of a morning and look for surprises that God had left for them.

Next came a year at Andover-Newton. While Phil completed a M.Div. degree, Sandy worked for the Quincy Visiting Nurses. The family returned to Minneapolis in 1977. Then began Sandy’s great vocational quest and its adventures.

The first need was a job. Sandy landed one in the mailing room of a small company. From there she worked her way to personnel manager as the company grew. She began studies at United Theological Seminary. The first attraction was art and religion. That continuing love was followed by her interest in the work place leading to her thesis “Theology and the Changing Face of Business.” Having completed a Masters of Arts in Religious Studies, she followed her interest in life at work by entering a Ph.D. program in Organization and Development at the University of Minnesota. Her 1994 thesis, consistent with her passion for humanizing the workplace and opening the doors of our lives to all people, is “The Status of Valuing and Managing Diversity in Fortune 500 Companies.”

Becoming Director of the Family Business Program at Saint Thomas University was the fulfillment of Sandy’s vocational aspirations and calling. She loved her work at St. Thomas and continued there until her illness intervened in 2002.

Sandy was a writer, poet, and editor par excellence. She was an editor of the journal Pietisten. Some examples of her work are available at pietisten.org; her journals are a treat and a treasure. She loved music, Bethlehem Covenant, and the choir. She took active interest in Bethlehem’s organizational and spiritual life. Sandy loved her granddaughters Violet and Hazel and their parents Eric and Jennifer with all her heart.

Sandy is survived by her husband, Phil, son Dr. Eric Eklund-Johnson and wife Jennifer, granddaughters Violet and Hazel; father Donald Teed Sr., sisters Lois Bender and Roberta Prescott-Neylon and husband Marty, brother Donald Teed Jr. and wife Audrey, and 12 nieces and nephews.

Peace to her memory.