Dr. Julie E. Johnson
July 6, 1948 – September 13, 2020
Julie Elaine Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, 72, took her final breath on the morning of September 13, 2020 in Pflugerville, TX as her daughter and son-in-law held her hand and her ex-husband and cat sat faithfully by her side.
Dr. Johnson was a nationally respected and loved nurse educator, scientist, and leader. She leaves behind an incredible legacy as a nurturing mentor of nursing students and faculty. Recognized for her impact on and service to the nursing profession, she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 2003, the Western Academy of Nurses in 1996, and was presented with the honorary designation of Western Institute of Nursing Emeritus in 2016. She was also a proud and active member in Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Prior to her 35+ year career in nursing education, where she served as a faculty member, dean, director, and associate dean in nursing programs around the country such as the University of Nevada Reno, University of Hawaii, and University of Utah, she served as a nurse in the Air Force and the Navy Reserves. After retiring, she co-founded Carpenter and Johnson Nursing Education Consulting, where she provided expert advice to nursing programs related to accreditation, curriculum, and faculty development. She bled burnt orange, having earned her BSN (‘72), MSN (‘75), and PhD (’84) from The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing.
Julie loved football—especially Longhorn football—and planned her fall around the football schedule. The night before she passed away, her family turned up the UT-UTEP game loud for her to hear. She also had a deep love and passion for animals and volunteered at the SPCA of Northern Nevada where, three years ago, she foster failed an orange tabby named Sunshine who was in hospice for suspected lymphoma. We never would have guessed that Sunshine would be the one to see mom through pancreatic cancer treatment and hospice, but Sunshine never left her side and reminded us of the deep bond between humans and animals. She loved to read, travel, and compete in heated games of Scrabble with her daughter (which Julie almost always won).
Most of all, Julie deeply loved her family, especially her children. She was an unconditionally loving and supportive mom—her greatest legacy of all. She never missed a basketball game or orchestra performance despite her demanding career. She was fiercely protective of her diverse family and had no tolerance for intolerance, bigotry, discrimination, or racism. She is survived by her daughter (and fellow nurse educator) Karen Johnson and son-in-law Parris Charles of Pflugerville, TX; son (and fellow military service member) David Johnson and daughter-in-law Pattama Johnson of Garmisch, Germany; sister Naomi Fair of Honolulu, HI and her three children Matthew, Austin, and Emily; best friend of 50+ years (and Godmother to David and Karen) Diana Martin of Baytown, TX; ex-husband and dear friend Russ Johnson of Reno, NV; several cherished cousins with whom she shares fond childhood memories of growing up together in Minneapolis, MN; her faithful feline companion, Sunshine; four grandkitties (Sid, Ellie, Diego, Florence Nightingale); and two granddogs (Jaxx and Whiskey).
She is preceded in death by her beloved mother Leone Smith Simon, father Ralph Simon, cousin Sandy Cook, favorite dog Sammie, and her grandparents and several dear friends. The family would like to sincerely thank Shelley Baker, RN, MSN, FNP-C of Austin Palliative Care for the incredible care and support she provided, as well as the team at Hospice Austin and the many nurses who provided great care for her amidst the stressful backdrop of a global pandemic.
Due to COVID-19, the family will have a small, in-person, socially distant service on October 4, 2020 at 2 pm at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center and invites anyone who wants to join this service remotely by video conferencing to contact Karen Johnson for log in information. We request that attendees incorporate something that is either burnt orange or purple (her favorite color, as well as the color for pancreatic cancer awareness) in their attire. We ask those who wish to honor Julie’s memory to make an online donation to either the School of Nursing Faculty Staff Scholarship Fund to support nursing students (http://links.utexas.edu/ebkomy) or the Lustgarten Foundation for pancreatic cancer research (https://events.lustgarten.org/fundraiser/2817879). For those who prefer not to donate online, please contact Karen Johnson for information on how to donate to an endowed scholarship that we hope to establish in Dr. Julie E. Johnson’s name. We thank all her, and our, family, friends, and colleagues for their incredible support during this time, and for sharing in our profound grief for this incredible human being.
Dr. Julie E. Johnson
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September 20, 2020
I worked with Julie at the University of Utah, College of Nursing and she was my friend. She was a gentle soul and always kind to me. I remember her most for the tremendous work she put into getting us ready for an accreditation visit...for which we did very well.
My sympathies and condolences go out to you at this tender time of her passing.
Carolyn Scheese, DNP, RN
Associate Professor (Clinical)
University of Utah College of Nursing