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Anne Booth Hale Johnson
Service: March 3, 2018 (Saturday) at 11:00 a.m.
Location: Georgetown Presbyterian Church

Anne Booth Hale Johnson

On Thursday January 18th, 2018, Anne Hale Johnson passed away with her family by her side in Bethesda, MD.  Anne was born in Rochester, NY on Columbus Day, 1923, the daughter of the late Ezra Andrews Hale and Josephine Booth. She attended The Columbia School for Girls, The Madeira School in Greenway, VA and graduated from Smith College with the class of 1945 with a degree in history. As a young girl growing up in the 1920’s, she sensed early on that there was a difference between how boys and girls were treated and viewed by society. A childhood fondness for horses became a lifelong passion and dedication whose legacy survives through Greener Pastures Equine.  But Anne, who was raised in Susan B. Anthony country, came from a long line of college-educated women and sensed the gender gap could be bridged. 

Women’s and reproductive rights became issues she devoted her storied lifelong activist career towards improving.  While pursuing a Master’s degree in International Affairs at Columbia University, her passion for social justice took her across Broadway to Union Theological Seminary where she studied under the legendary ethicist, Reinhold Neibuhr. Anne was one of only six women to receive the Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1956. After she graduated from Seminary, Mrs. Johnson embarked on a rich and varied lay ministry including coordinating the Adult Issues Program at Georgetown Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC for more than 30 years. Mrs. Johnson was Chair Emerita of Union Theological Seminary, having served as Chair of Union’s Board for nine years. At her retirement, the Seminary awarded her its highest honor, the Union Medal, and later, Union’s Unitas Distinguished Alumni/ae Citation in 2008. Through her generosity, dedication, and optimistic spirit Mrs. Johnson galvanized the Seminary to a successful $39 million Campaign.

Following the death of their daughter Christianne in a tragic 1987 Amtrak accident, Anne and her husband Art founded Safe Travel America and successfully lobbied Congress to pass legislation requiring drug and alcohol testing for those in safety-sensitive positions in transportation. They also endowed the Christiane Brooks Johnson Chair of Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary. Anne Johnson brought to any task a talent for personal interaction and cultivated wit that reflected her local, national, and international experience in the church and political arenas. Her profound Christian faith and advocacy for gender equality placed her on numerous boards and garnered numerous awards including: Planned Parenthood, Faith and Politics Institute, National Council of Churches, Ghost Ranch, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Pathfinder International, The Interfaith Alliance, The Living Pulpit and The Madeira School, among others. 

Among other honors, Anne received the 2009 Ophelia Egypt Award by Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan DC and the James Floyd Jenkins Pillar of Faith of Award by Howard University School of Divinity in 2011. Mrs. Johnson focused her actions and her energies where her passions lay. In 1995, she attended the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. “A woman’s right to choose is being threatened, and that will remain my number one cause” Johnson says. “Without that, we become victims, unable to order our own lives.” Mrs. Johnson was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur William Johnson, her youngest child, Christianne Brooks Johnson and her youngest grandchild, Ezra Griffith Carlson. She is survived by her daughter Joy Sanborn Johnson of Denver, CO, son Randall Hale (Elise Middleton) Johnson of Frederick, MD and granddaughter Vivian Brooks Carlson of New York, NY.

A Celebration  of Life will be held at Georgetown Presbyterian Church, 3115 P St. NW, Washington, DC 20007, on Saturday, March 3 at 11:00 AM.Contributions can be made to Planned Parenthood and Union Theological Seminary in her memory/honor.

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