Frances Johnson, 103, secretary, PEO member
Frances Eleanor Abbott Johnson died at her home at Ridgefield Crossings on Saturday, May 24, at the age of 103.
Ms. Johnson was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Oct. 5, 1910, and moved to Illinois after her father, Albert Frederick Abbott, was killed in World War I. She had a younger sister, Jean Abbott, and two older brothers, Fred and Jack Abbott. Her mother, Charlotte Langley Abbott, moved back to the United States to Evanston, Ill., to be close to her mother and family.
Ms. Johnson’s mother, who died at age 101, raised her four children on a pension of 50 Canadian dollars per month, and Ms. Johnson “was taught to be a survivor,” her family said.
After graduating from Evanston Township High School in 1928, she went on to business and secretarial school in Chicago, Ill. When her first husband, Edwin Patrick Cullander, died in 1947, Frances took on secretarial work and became the national secretary for the sorority Sigma Delta Tau, running its headquarters in Evanston and later Kenilworth, Ill. She later married Arthur W. Johnson of Evanston. She was a member of Covenant Methodist Church in Evanston and was very active, serving on the board and in other positions. She was a member of the Evanston Women’s Club and the Business and Professional Women’s Club where she held several offices. She also became a member of the Philanthropic Education Organization (PEO) in Illinois and joined the PEO chapter in Ridgefield when she moved here in 2001.
Her life spanned an era of great technological change, and her family said she kept up with it. Ms. Johnson, who could recall a time before the prevalence of cars, electricity and telephones, learned in her later years to use Skype.
Ms. Johnson’s family expressed gratitude for the care she received at Ridgefield Crossings in 13 years living there and that provided by the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association, particularly Aaron Crooke.
Ms. Johnson is survived by her two daughters: Susan Carol Jacobsen, wife of Frank Jacobsen, of Mount Holly, N.J.; and Jean E. Krasno Maloney, wife of Christopher Maloney, of Ridgefield. She also leaves two grandsons, Jeffrey and Eric Krasno, a step-grandson, Jonathan Maloney, and three great-granddaughters: Phoebe, 9, Ondine, 7 and Micah, 4.