Mary Louise Johnson – Affectionately known as ‘Judy’, daughter of the late Samuel and Elizabeth Ward, born April 21, 1942, in Centerville Tennessee. She lived there as a youth and eventually her family settling in Richmond, Indiana. Judy attended Richmond Community Schools but did not graduate. She was not a fan of homework and argued frequently with her father about this subject until she decided to drop out. Though not formally educated, Judy was industrious at any task placed before her. She was dedicated to raising her family and loved them all deeply. She was a strong, yet loving, disciplinarian.

Judy was an iron-willed, tough fighter. Her siblings attest to her frequently standing up to adversaries with determination and no fear. Judy would often step in to help her brother load the coal chute that would leave them covered from head to toe with black soot. She wasn’t afraid to get dirty.

As a young adult, Judy joined Bethel A.M.E. in 1969, where she served for years alongside her mother Elizabeth, and her two sisters, Margaret and Catherine (a.k.a – Rosie) as ‘Willing Worker’ Stewards.

Judy worked as a braider/bobbin wind operator at Belden Corporation for 31 years, retiring in 1997. Judy also loved bowling with her Belden bowling league at 40 Lanes. Her other hobbies included cooking and eating collard greens, hot water cornbread, her signature macaroni and cheese and sugar cream pie.

Judy also loved gardening. She could often be found in her mother’s flower beds weeding and planting. She always tended a huge vegetable garden of her own. The flower beds around her home were always well groomed. Judy could spot a weed growing in a flower bed from a mile away. She loved the outdoors. She was always busy cutting trees, mowing lawns, toting branches. You name it! She would always try and do it herself. She was a hard-working woman for her entire life.

Mary L Johnson was preceded in death by her husband, Robert E. Johnson, Sr, her parents Samuel and Elizabeth Ward, her siblings Robert Ward, Catherine (Rosie) Allen, and Margaret Ward, her brother-in-law James B Allen. Surviving siblings: Eugene Ward (Gloria) and family, Stephen Ward (Claudia) and family and Alan Ward (Linda) and family. Her surviving children Teresa Maney (Doug) and family, Anthony E. Johnson, Sr (Sheila) and family, Monique Burgos (Wigberto) and family, Robert E. Johnson, Jr and family, Jeffery J Johnson (Sara) and family and a host of friends, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Rest in heaven, Foxy Grandma.

Funeral services will be held at Bethel A.M.E. Church, Friday, September 23, 2022. at 1:00 PM, with Pastor Martel Winburn, Sr. officiating. Family and friends may call Friday at the church two hours prior to the service. Burial will be held at Earlham Cemetery at a later date. Send online condolences to the family via the guestbook at

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.