Dorothy Jane Johnson
Dorothy Jane Johnson
  • May 3, 1924 - September 21, 2016
  • Huntington, West Virginia

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Dr. Dorothy Jane Rensch Johnson (Dotty) of Huntington died September 21, 2016 at Woodlands Retirement Community. She was the daughter of the late Robert H. and Ruth Esther Ross Rensch and the widow of C. Bosworth Johnson. Dotty was born May 3, 1924, in Schenectady, New York, and grew up in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA. She received her A.B. degree from Wheaton (IL) College, M.A. from Northwestern University, M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and PhD. from The Ohio State University. Following early broadcasting jobs with WRGB-TV in Schenectady and WMAQ-Radio in Chicago, and service with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, she enlisted as a missionary with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and served in Bangkok, Thailand, teaching in the Wattana Wittaya Academy. Upon her return to the United States, she became an instructor in broadcasting at West Virginia University where she met and later married Bos Johnson. After raising five children, Dotty returned to higher education, teaching for 28 years at Marshall University, where she chaired the Department of Speech for 16 years. She retired from Marshall in 1991 and spent the next nine years as a tax preparer for H&R Block. She wrote both national (CBS) and state network radio scripts as a free-lance writer, and in 1984 was named Frank Stanton Fellow by the International Radio-Television Society. The following year she was honored as West Virginia Press Woman of the Year. In 2007, Dotty was inducted into the WV Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Dotty served as Treasurer of Huntington Habitat for Humanity, Board Member of the Marshall University Library Associates, Board Member of Goodwill Industries, founding Board Member and Treasurer of Contact, and Elder and Sunday School teacher at the First Presbyterian Church. Earlier she had served for many years on the boards of Barnett Child Care Center and the Huntington Ad Club. Dotty’s life-long concern for campus ministry was reflected by service as a staff member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship throughout Oregon, Board Member for the Marshall University Campus Christian Center, Board Member and Treasurer for Westminster Foundation, and member of the Presbyterian Campus Christian Ministry. Dr. Johnson is survived by her five children: Dr. Elizabeth Johnson (Mrs. Peter Paulsen), Decatur, GA; Carol Anne (Mrs. Thomas Walton), Louisville, KY; Susan, Charlotte, NC; Janice (Mrs. Michael Lanning), Lexington, NC; Rob (Mary Johnson), Huntington, WV. She is also survived by nine grandchildren - Adam Bair, Jacquelyn Whisenant, Max Lanning, Drew Lanning, Matthew Walton, Reese Walton, Grace Paulsen, Sarah Paulsen and Ginny Johnson, as well as her sister and brother-in-law Roberta and Hadden Smith of Newtown Square, PA, and her brother Dr. Calvin Rensch of Oro Valley, AZ.

A Celebration of Dotty’s life will be held 1:30 p.m. Sunday, October 9, 2016 at First Presbyterian Church by the Rev. Skip Seibel. A gathering of family and friends will follow at 2:15 p.m. at the church. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Marshall University Campus Christian Center, 1 John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV. The family would like to express their sincere thanks and appreciation to the staff of Woodlands Retirement Community and its Health Care unit for their loving care of Dotty. Special thanks to Dr. Cindy Pinson, and the wonderful staff in Health Care. You earned crowns in Heaven for the care and love you gave Dotty, especially at the end of her life. Family Guest book at