Nina Marie Murray Johnson

February 28, 1936September 2, 2011

Reflections of Nina Marie Murray Johnson

Nina Marie Murray Johnson, affectionately known as “Mema”, was born on February 28, 1936 in Winchester, Kentucky to the late Jesse Davis Murray and Grace Virginia Hooten Murray. The second of seven children, Nina’s siblings include Rolland Hart-Murray (Marilyn) of Albany, Georgia; the late William Murray of Winchester, Kentucky; Mary Estese of Cincinnati, Ohio; the late Barbara Haley of Winchester, Kentucky; Juanita Lovelace of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Jessie Ann Murray of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Nina also has an Aunt Maureen Hooten of Winchester, Kentucky. Nina attended elementary school in Winchester, Kentucky then later attended Hughes High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from Hughes in 1954. In 1958, she received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Later in her career, she went on to receive her master degree in Guidance and Counseling from George Mason University.

Nina met Chester (Chet) Johnson at Central State University in 1954. They eloped on November 9, 1957, sealing their unbreakable bond and launching their wonderful adventures together. From 1957 to 2011, Nina cherished her 54 years and her worldwide journey of a lifetime with Chester.

Nina enjoyed a distinguished 30-plus year career in elementary education as a teacher and a counselor. As a military wife, she taught school for the Department of Defense as well as at Public Schools wherever she and Chet were stationed throughout his prestigious military career. Nina spent the last 12 years of her career as a guidance counselor in Fairfax County where they’d been settled since 1975. She retired from service in 2001. Nina had many interests and hobbies, but her favorites were cooking, and above all, gardening. She also had the amazing ability of making those she met feel like family. Nina’s passion in life was her family: her beloved husband COL Chester Johnson (Retired), also known as “Papa”; three lovely daughters and their husbands, Deborah Johnson Beckles Screen (Phillip Screen), Judith Johnson LaReau (Kevin LaReau), and Pamela Johnson Lanham (Adrian Lanham). However, nothing filled her heart more affectionately than her five grandchildren; Brandon LaReau (19), also known as “B”, Jessica LaReau (17), Andre Screen (9), Maxwell Lanham (7), and Miles Lanham (5).

Life ended peacefully on September 2, 2011. Nina leaves us with wonderful memories of her as a devoted wife, loving sister, caring mother, doting grandmother, loyal friend, and a faithful Christian. Nina also has an exhaustive list of extended family and a host of close friends that loved her dearly. __________________________________________________________________ In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: The Ira Dorsey scholarship Endowment Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 10371, Alexandria, VA 22310 __________________________________________________________________

Interment Ceremony for Nina Marie Murray Johnson At Arlington National Cemetery is scheduled for October 5, 2011, Wednesday Family and Friends are requested to gather inside the Arlington Administration Building at 2:30 p.m. for the procession.

Directions to Arlington National Cemetery: 214 McNair Road Arlington, VA 22211 (703) 607-8000‎

From Western Virginia Follow 66East to Exit 73 “Lee Highway.” Follow Lee Highway to Fort Myer Drive. Make a right on to Fort Myer Drive. Follow Fort Myer Drive, immediately after passing over a bridge make a left on route 50. Iwo Jima Memorial will be on your right side. Follow route 50 and stay in your right lane. Exit on to George Washington Parkway. Stay in your right lane. Follow Parkway until you see a sign for Arlington National Cemetery. Take exit to Arlington National Cemetery. Stay to your left. After stop sign make a left turn. Cemetery is straight ahead.

From Baltimore Drive south on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway or on Route 95 to the Washington Beltway. You can travel on Route 95 (eastern side of the Beltway) or travel on Route 495 (to the western side of the Beltway). If you follow Route 95, stay on the Beltway to Route 395 north (see directions from Richmond). If you follow Route 495 stay on the Beltway to the George Washington Parkway (see directions from Frederick below).

From Frederick, Maryland Travel south on Route 270. Near the Washington Beltway (Route 495) the lanes will split. Stay to the right and follow the signs to Virginia. You will merge with the Beltway and continue traveling south on the Beltway. Upon crossing the American Legion Bridge (leaving Maryland and entering Virginia), get into the right lane and take the first exit (George Washington Parkway). Travel on the GW Parkway until you start going under bridges. Take the Arlington Cemetery-Memorial Bridge exit. Merge left with the traffic exiting from Route 110. At the stop sign make a left onto Memorial Drive. See directions below for Memorial Drive.

From Richmond Drive north on Route 95. Near the Washington Beltway, Route 95 will merge with the Beltway-do not merge with the Beltway. Continue traveling north on Route 395 toward Washington, DC. Take Exit 8-B (Arlington National Cemetery exit). This exit is to Route 27. Stay in the left lane until reaching the circle (on the Virginia side of the Arlington Memorial Bridge). Proceed counter-clockwise around the circle to Memorial Drive, see directions below.

On Memorial Drive there will be a traffic guide who will be directing all traffic into the pay parking facility. If you are here for a funeral, stay to the right on Memorial Drive and inform the traffic guard that you are here for a funeral as a guest of the Johnson Family. You will then continue on Memorial Drive, at the end of the street, turn left into the cemetery and park across the street from the Administration Building. Please arrive at 2:30 p.m. inside the building.


  • Graveside Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nina Marie Murray Johnson

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October 5, 2011

Chet and family, please accept my deepest condolences. Nina was a friend and fellow class mate (CSU 58). May GOD bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.

Col. Cicero Wilkinson Jr. (Ret)
West Chester, Ohio

Monroe Freeman

September 28, 2011

Dear Chet and Family,
Alfredia and I were indeed saddened to learn of Nina's death. We both recalled the happy times at CSU, at our reunion, and lunch. May your precious memories sustain you in the days ahead.
And may Nina now rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.

Ann Via

September 14, 2011

So sorry to hear of Mrs. Johnson's passing. She was a dear and kind person. She was always there to give a helping hand. My condolescenes go out to Mr. Johnson and his family. I am a friend of Geraldine Harlow.

Geraldine Harlow

September 14, 2011

Heartfelt sympathy and deepest regrets. I now know I've lost one of my best friends and neighbors. I will miss you always.

Lisa Goodwine

September 13, 2011

My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Johnson family at this time of loss. My sincerest deepest condolences are with you!

Charles Webster

September 12, 2011

May God bless you during your time of sorrow.

Lydia Nelson

September 11, 2011

My thoughts are with you. We shared so many memories at Central State. Hold on to your memories and let them guide you during this time of sadness. Remember memories are the legacy of love.

September 11, 2011

I enjoyed the happy memories shared through the pictures on the website. They were a true celebration of Nina's life.

Steve Krems

Beverly Williams

September 11, 2011

Nina was an amazing woman who left an indelible mark on everyone she met. She truly will be missed. Chet, Debbie, Judy, Pam and everyone in your family may happy memories carry you through this sorrowful time. May God's love make your grief bearable. You're in our thoughts, our hearts and our prayers. Love you much, Jimmie, Kitty, Chip & Beverly Williams

Shirley and Ralph McNeal

September 10, 2011

At Central State University I shared a room with Nina in O'Neill Hall, the year was 1956. She was so nice to me from the very beginning since I was a green Freshman and she was an upper classmate. Years later when my husband Ralph McNeal was assigned to Ft. Meade, Md. Nina and Chet opened their home and let me stay with them until housing was available. I have never forgotten this kindness.
To Chet and daughters, I know you will cherish her memory and thank God that she was a part of your lives. May God Bless You.