Jean Armstrong Johnson
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Jean Armstrong Johnson
  • April 1, 1923 - June 24, 2017
  • Odessa, Texas

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Jean Armstrong Johnson was born in Maffra (near Melbourne), Australia in 1923, the eldest child in a family of four girls. Her mother, Ella MacPherson was a nurse, and her father, Dr. Benjamin Armstrong, a general practitioner. In the early 1930's Jean's father moved the family to Stratford and later to Auckland, New Zealand. Jean and her sisters attended St. Cuthberts School for Girls which still stands today as a private girls school. Jean has one surviving sister, Mardi Donnell who still resides in Auckland and has four daughters and eleven grandchildren there. A fifth daughter lives in Seattle, WA, with her husband and three children.
Jean's mother died in 1944 and her father married Dr. Elizabeth Coates-Earl in 1946 with whom he had six boys - Warwick, John, Robert, Grant, Paul and Roger. Three of these men still live in New Zealand with their families, one lives in Australia with his family and two live in the United States with their families. In the summer of 2010, there was a large family reunion in Seattle with Jean and her sister, one brother, children and grandchildren attending. It was very memorable with many family members meeting for the first time.
Jean lived in Auckland until meeting the love of her life, Virgil (Nick) Johnson, while he was on a short leave during WW II. Jean and Nick were married on November 4, 1945 and moved to Rolla, Missouri, where Nick completed his education in Chemical Engineering.
Due to the nature of Nick's work, the couple lived in Chicago, Houston, El Paso and finally moving to Odessa in January of 1964. In addition to raising her four children, Jean quickly became involved in the art community of Odessa as a member and president of the Odessa Art Association and as Co-Founder and President of both Fiesta Del Arte and the Ellen Noel Art Museum Board. She was awarded the Odessa Cultural Council of the Arts Volunteer of the Year Award. In 2002, she was honored by the Heritage Foundation for her work in the Arts.
Jean always had an appreciation for color and beauty, perhaps formed during her growing up years in beautiful New Zealand. In 1960, she was drawn to art studies at University of Texas at El Paso. It brought out in her a talent for many forms of art, most particularly watercolor and acrylic. Most of her work is taken from nature - wildlife, water, rocks, marine life and deserts - where her eye for the beauty in each of these and her talent were reflected in the paintings now hanging in homes and businesses across the United States. Her portrait of President Carter hangs in the Presidential Collection of the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. She had many one man shows and received awards that include "Best of Show", "Purchase Prize" and TFAA Circuit Awards. She is listed in American Artists of Renown.
After 65 years of marriage, Jean lost her husband, Nick, to the effects of Alzheimer's in 2010. The couple resided in Odessa for 45 years. Jean leaves behind her children, Dianne and Pete Kirk of Houston, TX, Chris and Marta Johnson of Odessa, TX, Chuck and Keiko Johnson of Irving, TX and Pam Johnson of Dallas, TX. Jean also leaves behind four granddaughters, Lauren Johnson Schlothauer and Abby Johnson Huckabay, of Odessa TX, and Allison Dalehite of Dallas, TX and Megan Dalehite of Austin, TX.
Jean thoroughly enjoyed her four granddaughters and loved to have them to her home to swim, paint or just play around. She and husband Nick had the good fortune that all four girls lived in the Midland/Odessa area for most of their growing up years. In the last few years, Jean had the joy of seeing Lauren and Abby meet and marry their own fine husbands, Dan and Justin. Most recently, her first great grandchild, Fischer Huckabay, was born and she has loved having him visit her.
Heartfelt thanks go to the Cowden Cottage staff, Lowery In Home Care for their loving care and, with special thanks, to Rosa Garcia who gently cared for both Nick and Jean over a period of 10 years.
Services with be held ¬¬¬¬¬on Thursday, June 29, 2017, at 1:00 PM in the First United Methodist Church, 415 North Lee Avenue, Odessa, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations honoring Jean to the Ellen Noel Art Museum, 4909 East University Blvd, Odessa, TX 79762.