Bookhout Funeral Home

357 Main St PO Box 612, Oneonta, NY


Harriett H. Johnson

December 27, 1926September 9, 2020

Harriett H. Johnson died on Wednesday, September 9, at The Plains in Oneonta. She was born on December 27, 1926, in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Emmy (Hazeley) Herzog and Harry Herzog. She attended public schools in Cleveland and graduated from West High School in January 1945, the co-valedictorian of her class. She attended Ohio State University and graduated in 1949 with a degree in chemistry (elected to Phi Beta Kappa).

She was awarded a fellowship in chemistry at the University of Minnesota and received her master¹s degree in 1951. She joined the staff of Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a chemist and next took a position with Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York. She was married to Richard Johnson in September 1956 in Rochester and moved to Chicago, Illinois, where her husband was completing his graduate studies. She was employed as a chemist at Standard Oil of Indiana. In 1957 she and her husband moved to California where he was employed at the Stanford University libraries. Harriett assumed a position as chemist at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, with a specialty in instrumental analysis, principally gas chromatography and x-ray spectroscopy. She resigned her position in 1963 with the arrival of daughter Ruth, and their son, Royce, was born in 1964. The family moved to southern California in 1968 when Richard assumed a position at the Claremont Colleges, and stayed there until 1973 when Richard was appointed director of libraries at SUNY Oneonta. In Oneonta Harriett became immediately involved in many community volunteer groups. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church where she sang with the choir and was ordained an elder. She was a volunteer at the A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital and at the area Hospice organization. Harriett was a leader in the local Girl Scouts, supervising each year the distribution of Girl Scout cookies among the troops. At that time the Johnson garage was completely filled with cases of cookies. She was one of the first volunteer cooks at the Lord¹s Table at St. James Episcopal Church and scheduled groups for service at Saturday¹s Bread (First United Methodist Church). She was also responsible for preparing take-outs at the chicken & biscuit dinners at the First Presbyterian Church. She achieved local renown for her bread baking, especially her challah. An active member of the Guild of Glimmerglass Festival, she was known for mathematically correct divisions of sheet cakes into individual portions at the opening performance receptions. (She also was on stage in one opera, Britten¹s ³Paul Bunyan² in 1995, when she was a supernumerary playing the part of an ³old tree.²)

In the 1980s with the children at college, Harriett turned back to her science background and became a lecturer in the chemistry departments at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College. Her specialty was the introductory chemistry course for non-science majors, informally called ³chemistry for poets.² Harriett became adept with personal computers, particularly the Apple Macintosh, and with page layout programs. She used that sklll as the editor of newsletters for numerous community groups, including the First Presbyterian Church, Fox Hospital Auxiliary, Executive Service Corps, Catskill Symphony, MUG ONE, the Macintosh users group, and the Guild of Glimmerglass Festival. She was also the co-author of ³The Macintosh Press: Desktop Publishing for Libraries² (Meckler, 1989).

Harriett is survived by her huaband Richard, her daughter Ruth Borra (Mark), her son Royce E Johnson (Marcie), and her grandsons, Michael Borra, Matthew Johnson (Erin Curry), Stephen Johnson (Laura Dunphy), and Eric Johnson (Marissa Ruis). A service in her memory at the First Presbyterian Church will be scheduled at a future date. Arrangements are being handled through the Bookhout Funeral Home, Oneonta, New York.

Gifts in her memory may be made to The Lord¹s Table, St. James Episcopal Church, 305 Main Street, Oneonta, NY 13820.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Harriett H. Johnson

have a memory or condolence to add?

David Farquhar

September 15, 2020

Richard and family: Donna and I are so sorry to hear of Harriett's passing. We remember both of you well from our shared experiences at Glimmerglass Opera. Clearly she was a brilliant woman and you both have been incredibly fortunate to have shared each other for so many years. God bless you all.

Dave and Donna Farquhar

Richard Redmond

September 14, 2020

Dear Richard,
I want to send to you and your family my condolences for the loss of Harriet.. It is a very difficult time. I know very well.
Richard Redmond

Joyce Mason

September 14, 2020

Harriett and Betsy worked for years as cooks at The Lord's Table and we enjoyed each others company.
I have missed both of these wonderful ladies and know that I have fond memories of Harriet. I remember when Richard would come and pick up Harriett we would have a small chat they were a wonderful couple.
Rest well you deserve it after all they years.


Anna Kurtzman

September 13, 2020

Ruth, I am terribly sad to hear of your Mom's passing. I have many fond memories of her as a Scout leader, a terrific cook, and just being your Mom while we played around the house.

Anna (Baumann) Kurtzman


Learn more about the Johnson name