Janice Baltzer Johnson

Janice Johnson

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Janice Johnson

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JOHNSON (BALTZER), Janice Janice Baltzer Johnson, beloved mother to Sabrina Elaine Johnson, Kristin Holly Johnson, Heather Leslie Johnson and Mark Baltzer Johnson, passed away on January 25, 2022. She was 85 years old. Her daughters were at her side on this last journey. Born Janice Elaine Baltzer on June 8, 1936 in Owensboro, Kentucky, Jan—as she preferred to be called--was the only child to parents George and Maxine (Friedman) Baltzer. Her grandfather, John Friedman, was an early business leader of Owensboro, owning a pharmacy and helping to lay the cornerstone of the local bank. Jan’s grandmother, nicknamed Muzzie, was a trailblazer in her own right and a strong matriarch, having a lasting and positive influence on her daughter and grand-daughter. Jan graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, a place that figured prominently in her upbringing. Her father, George Washington Baltzer, recruited for Stephens for many years, and her mother attended Stephens. Jan’s father was also a civic leader in Owensboro and helped run the family pharmacy after his recruiting years. Jan’s uncle John (Jay) Friedman, Jr. was a talented artist who spent several years in Hollywood designing sets and costumes for “Gone with the Wind” and “Rebecca.” After graduating from Stephens College, Jan married Edward Clayton Johnson (deceased 2016). Jan met Ed while in high school (where she was named “most sophisticated” which both amused and embarrassed her!) and when Ed was a star basketball player at Kentucky Wesleyan College. Ed and Jan both fondly recounted meeting at a dance on the Ohio River attended by the Kentucky Wesleyan basketball team. Mom captured Ed’s attention with her striking beauty and blue velvet dress. Jan always said that Ed was the love of her life. Jan and Ed moved to San Francisco, California where Ed fulfilled his army service, stationed at the Presidio. In San Francisco, they made a number of life-long friends. A whole new world opened up for them (food, culture, perspectives) and forever changed their lives. Their eldest daughter, Sabrina, was born in San Francisco in 1958. Jan and Ed loved the fact that three of their children made San Francisco their home over the years, giving them ample opportunity to come back and visit the place that meant so much to them. They returned to the Southeast, making it their home and had three more children, moving from Red Bank, N.J., to Charlotte, N.C. (Kristin/1961) to Bay City, Texas, to Rome, Georgia (Mark/1962) to Decatur, GA (Heather/1968). In 1982, Jan and Ed tragically lost their only son Mark as a result of a motorcycle accident, a profound loss they always carried with them. Jan’s husband, Ed, was a long-time professor of economics at Agnes Scott College, and they both saw Agnes Scott as their home. After raising four children and ready for a new challenge, Jan went back to work and joined the staff at Agnes Scott College, first working in Admissions and then in Student Life, alongside Gue Hudson, both key members of the core staff for more than three decades. She loved interacting with students and was the first point of contact and gatekeeper for many coming into the offices. According to Hudson, Jan was a born mentor and confidante to many students. Jan helped decorate the Alston Campus Center for students. The Scotty Dog art piece with symbols of life of Agnes Scott in the Center was dedicated to Jan and a close colleague. She and her family lived in four college houses and within two blocks of the campus from the time her husband started teaching at Agnes Scott in 1964 until 2003. Jan finally retired from Agnes Scott in 2006. Jan was known for her lifelong love of dogs and was a dedicated “dog mama” to many special animals and rescues over her lifetime, including her beloved Derby. Jan’s love of arts and culture was shared with her family, and her daughters remember being introduced to opera, ballet, art classes, museums, and musical theatre at an early age. She was always very supportive of her children’s interests. Jan herself was an artist and potter. Her artistic flair carried over into flower-arranging, home decorating, putting together the perfect outfit and giving fashion advice to her many friends. Jan was an active member of North Decatur Presbyterian Church, and her bridge and book clubs. Jan loved to travel and was fortunate to make a number of memorable trips to England and Europe, including Belgium, France and Italy. One of the special gifts she gave her daughters was a family trip to the South of France. She and Ed also celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Hawaii with their daughters. Despite frequent compliments, Jan never showed vanity or seemed aware of how beautiful she was. As her long-time best friend Hudson said, “She had presence with a capital P.” Jan was always a very strong woman, independent, pragmatic, the rock of the family; she took everything in stride and operated without fear or drama ever. She was undyingly loyal to her husband and children. Although reserved and sophisticated, she was friendly, kind and social, and always gracious and generous. She was universally admired for her many strengths. Jan is survived by her three daughters, Sabrina, Kris (Joe Lerer) and Heather (Randy Mason). A celebration of Jan’s life will be planned for a later date. Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to Second Life (all proceeds go to support homeless pets) or The Gue Pardue Hudson Center for Leadership and Service at Agnes Scott College in memory of Jan. Second Life secondlifeatlanta.org/donate Checks can also be sent to Second Life 1 N. Clarendon Ave. Avondale Estates, GA 30002 The Gue Pardue Hudson Center for Leadership and Service at Agnes Scott College (https://www.agnesscott.edu/center-for-leadership-and-service/index.html) https://give.agnesscott.edu/ Checks can also be sent to Agnes Scott College Development Office 141 E. College Avenue Decatur, GA 30030

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