Lois Purnell Johnson

September 17, 1929October 11, 2018

Lois Purnell Johnson, 89, of Culpeper, VA passed away at the Novant Health – UVA Hospital in Culpeper on October 11, 2018. Born in Grier City, PA to William H. and Mabel E. Purnell, she was a pioneering female pharmacist known throughout Culpeper and surrounding counties. Her most cherished pleasures were sharing an inseparable bond with her husband of 65 years, Henry Waterhouse Johnson, III (Hack) and spending time with her three sons, seven grandsons, and four great-grandchildren.

A 1952 graduate of Temple University School of Pharmacy, she became known as the ‘lady doctor,’ paving the way for acceptance of women in the field of pharmacy. She was beloved by her many ‘patients’ at Lewis Pharmacy, Peoples Drug Store, Madison Drug Company, Gregg Pharmacy and the Culpeper Memorial Hospital, dispensing care, advice and medications for over 44 years.

She was active in all the communities in which she lived, from the PTA in York, PA to the Hospice of the Rapidan in Culpeper, VA. A long-time member of St Luke’s Lutheran Church, she directed the Junior Choir until the last of her three sons’ voices changed from soprano to baritone.

Lois enjoyed her wide circle of Culpeper friends, always chatting, always sharing advice. She was known fondly to many as “Mother to the World,” a moniker that family and friends used with great love and admiration (and a little humor). She especially enjoyed her time on the water. First, sailing the Chesapeake Bay aboard their Catalina 22, Halo, eventually cruising up and down the Bay and along the Intracoastal Waterway in their trawler, Halo IV, and ultimately taking cruise ship vacations throughout the world, always at the side of her beloved husband, Hack.

Surviving Mrs. Johnson are her husband Henry Waterhouse Johnson, III; her sons, Mark Henry Johnson and his wife Darlene Eddins Johnson of Spotsylvania, VA, Eric Scott Johnson and his wife Kelley Inskeep Johnson of Charlottesville, VA, and Craig William Johnson and his wife Holly Bannon Phelan Johnson, of Chapel Hill, NC; her grandsons Adam Henry Johnson and his wife Stephanie of Dumfries, VA, Daniel Mark Johnson of Spotsylvania, VA, Caleb George Johnson of Memphis, TN, Scott Frank Schrack and wife Katie of Alpharetta, GA, Emily Eddins Schrack of Charlotte, NC, Christopher Bryce Johnson of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Tyler Scott Johnson of Bozeman, MT, Conner William Johnson of Chapel Hill, NC, Henry Waterhouse Johnson, IV of Chapel Hill, NC, William Patrick Phelan, Jr. and wife Phoebe, of Wilmington, NC, Handley Colleen Phelan of St. Louis, MO, and Shirlie Schumacher Phelan of Oceanside, CA; her great-grandchildren Harrison Frank Schrack, Preston Wayne Schrack. William Patrick Phelan, III, and Caroline James Phelan. She is also survived by her sister Patricia Bair Morris and her husband Stanley, her brother Charles Ronald Bair and his wife Sally, and her sister-in-law Myrna North Bair. She was preceded in death by her brother Thomas Irvin Bair, II.

The family would also like to recognize and give thanks for the compassionate and sympathetic care she received during her final days at the Novant Health – UVA Hospital. The staff were touched by the warmth and love that she and her family displayed, and the family remains grateful for the care and attention that was afforded by the staff during her time there. The family also acknowledges the thoughtful care provided by the staff at The Culpeper during Mrs. Johnson’s recovery from hip surgery.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Clore-English Funeral Home. Her memorial service will be held at St Luke’s Lutheran Church on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 1:00 pm. Interment will be at the Culpeper National Cemetery, Culpeper, VA, following the service at 2:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St Luke’s Lutheran Church, 1200 Old Rixeyville Road, Culpeper, VA. 22701. Condolences may be given at


  • St. Luke's Lutheran Church


  • Celebration of Life Wednesday, November 7, 2018
  • Interement to Follow In Culpeper National Cemetery, New Grounds Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Lois Purnell Johnson

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