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Shirley Brown Johnson

January 22, 1940 July 4, 2021
Shirley Brown Johnson
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Obituary for Shirley Brown Johnson
Strength, elegance, and love of family – those are the words that best describe our beautiful Mom and Granny, Shirley Brown Johnson. She was born in Powhatan on January 22, 1940 to the late Blanche Gillis. She attended Powhatan County Schools and was baptized at Second Antioch Baptist Church. She worked as a housekeeper at several homes at a time to provide for her family. In the mid-1980’s, she began her employment with Chesterfield County Schools where she was a valued employee until her retirement in 2005. Following her retirement, she continued her housekeeping work in addition to lovingly caring for her granddaughters until Alzheimer’s prevented her from doing so.

Mom loved music and she loved to dance, but above all she loved her family and she always looked for ways to bring her loved ones together. She enjoyed planning family events and her home was always open to family and friends. She took it upon herself to ensure that our family knew its history and keeping the family connected was especially important to her.

She was generous with her home and heart. Countless friends and family members have called her house their home over the years. She faithfully showed her love and support to family and friends, making them feel welcomed. Even when her memory was failing her, she greeted everyone as if she had known them for years…even if she had never met them before.

Mom was a woman of strength. She endured many heartaches and challenges in her life, but they only made her stronger. Mom taught us that when you fall, you get up, dust yourself off and keep on going. She valued her independence. She raised her children and grandchildren, maintained her home, vehicles, and sense of style all on her own. She enjoyed dressing well! She instilled in her children a strong sense of pride along with the appreciation for working hard and never giving up. But, most of all she gave us a strong faith. She knew that her help came from the Lord and we learned, through her example, that Jesus is an ever-present help. When our sister Danita was sick years ago, Mom would tell us how before she would leave to go visit her at the hospital, she would open the door of the car and invite Jesus to ride along with her. To witness that kind of faith was a great example for us. Mom prepared us for this day. Through her love and her example, she has given us everything we need to make it through this difficult time.

On July 4, 2021, she was reunited with her grandson the late Rashad Brown, her mother, and her late brothers William “Sonny” Cleveland, John “Jackie” and Clinton “Hoodie” Gillis. To cherish her and keep her memory alive until we meet again, she leaves her daughters Cheryl Brown-Fields (Walter), Danita Brown, and Tanya Ross (Kevin); her son Wallace “Mel” Brown, Jr. (Alisa); grandson Rahmel Brown (Fonseca); grand-daughters Kennedy and Karrington Ross, Tianna and Alexandra Mondrey. Great-granddaughters Alyssa Wood, Sha’Diamond and Sha’Daja Gregory, Layla and Samaiya Johnson, Nadiya and Kaleigha Mondrey; brothers Linwood Gillis (Margaret) and Zane Johnson (Melinda); sisters Jeanette Patrick, Dorine and Francis Gillis; devoted caregivers Shirley Royal, Pam Crump, Alisa Brown and Rhonda Scott; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and friends.

Viewing Friday, July 9, 2021 from 3 to 7PM. Funeral Services Saturday, July 10, 2021 at 1:00PM at Second Antioch Baptist Church 1059 Dorset Rd., Powhatan, VA. Interment church cemetery.

Michael W. Hawkes Funeral Home of Amelia in charge of arrangements.
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