Barbara Jo "BJ" Johnson, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend, passed away on December 10, 2023, in Concord, NC. She was born on December 5, 1939, in Sharon, PA to John Preston Hale II and Mabel Mae Hale.
BJ's life was characterized by resilience, determination, and her faith in Jesus Christ. She was a member of St. Mark Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC.
At the age of 32, she found herself widowed with three young children. Undeterred by this immense challenge, she fearlessly took on the responsibility of providing for her family. BJ enrolled in nursing school at night while working during the day to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Her unwavering dedication and hard work served as an inspiration to her children and all who knew her.
From an early age, BJ had an adventurous spirit and a desire to explore the world. At just 17 years old, she left the farming community of northern Ohio behind and embarked on a journey that would shape the rest of her life. BJ attended flight attendant school and began a career that spanned over 25 years. She worked for Alleghany Airline, Mohawk Airline, US Air, and even had the privilege of flying with the original Mercury astronauts on a private charter alongside John Glenn and Scott Carpenter. Her experiences in the aviation industry were extraordinary and allowed her to touch the skies while making lasting connections with those she encountered along the way.
Aside from her remarkable career achievements, BJ possessed a vibrant personality that left an indelible mark on everyone she encountered. Her infectious positivity radiated from within as she always sought out the good in every situation. BJ's happiness was contagious, making her the life of any gathering. Whether through her creative endeavors or by simply being present in a room filled with loved ones and friends, she ensured her presence was known. She had a big personality that brought joy to those around her.
When she wasn't flying or spending quality time with her loved ones, BJ pursued various hobbies and interests. She cherished moments with family and friends, relishing in the laughter and love they shared. BJ had a passion for travel, sewing, upholstery, entertaining, and collecting patriotic memorabilia. She also possessed a talent for decorating and creating spaces that brought warmth and comfort to all who entered.
BJ's proudest accomplishments extended far beyond her professional and personal endeavors. As a member of Daughters of the American Revolution, she honored her lineage and embraced her heritage with utmost pride. Her respect for history and dedication to preserving the memories of those who came before her was truly remarkable.
BJ leaves behind a legacy of love and resilience. She will be deeply missed by her surviving family, including her daughters: Jennifer (Rick) Roycroft, Janet (Matthew) McLaughlin; son Rusty Smith; grandchildren: Caison (Ashley) Roycroft, Preston (Courtney) Roycroft, Graham McLaughlin, Mary Kathryn McLaughlin, Tanner McLaughlin, Chrysta Lindsay, Daniel Smith, Jenna Smith; great-grandchild Sophie Roycroft.
Along with her parents, she is preceded in death by her brother John Preston Hale III and sister Marsha Gayle Huffman.
In her journey through life, BJ encapsulated compassion, strength, faith, and kindness. Her love for others knew no bounds, and she touched the hearts of everyone fortunate enough to cross her path. As we remember BJ today, let us cherish the joy she brought into our lives and honor her memory by emulating the same warmth and positivity that defined her remarkable existence. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Hospital or the Wounded Warriors in honor of BJ.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 1:00pm on Saturday, January 6, 2024 at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 4801 Six Forks Rd, Raleigh, NC. A reception will follow the service.