Mary L. Johnson, of Montclair and Nantucket, Massachusetts, died unexpectedly in her sleep from heart complications on Dec. 15, 2021. She was 61.

Mrs. Johnson was born in 1960 in Oklahoma City. She moved to Dallas in sixth grade and graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1983 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. 

She practiced engineering from 1984 to 1988 in the workplace, and for the rest of her life at  home.

She wed Michael V. Johnson in April 1983, and they were married for nearly 38 years. They lived in Dallas until 1989, when they moved to Montclair. 

Mrs. Johnson was a summer resident of Nantucket for 25 years, where she exclaimed her delight for each and every beautiful sunset, saying, “Go God.” 

She was very active in her community and church. She was a natural caregiver who was well-known for her passionate care of many friends and acquaintances.

Mrs. Johnson was involved in giving her whole life. She participated in many charitable organizations, including as an elder and deacon of her church, president of the Junior League of Montclair and a leader of Spiritual Heritage Nantucket. 

But her real charity was the gifted and tenacious help of any friend in need. She was a woman of profound faith; she sensed when people needed help, and helped them herself. From waking up at 5 a.m. to drive a friend into the city for dozens of chemo treatments, to delivering a meal to someone with an upsetting family event, to fixing the boiler of a grieving family, she was simply there for people. 

She shrugged off any credit or thanks, always wishing she could do more. Her giving often went beyond what friends knew, such as the secretive providing of air conditioning for her church, the secret payment of tuition for a family in need, the quiet payment of a medical bill. She felt a duty to give but also took genuine joy in providing. She taught everyone the meaning of love and charity.

Mrs. Johnson was a wonderful mother and grandmother, setting an example of love, faith and care for many. She loved her children with a ferocious intensity. She stayed involved in their lives and spoke to them daily. 

The phrase “We could not have done this without her” comes up again and again. She leaves behind a chasm of infinite depth — but also life lessons to all of her children to move ahead, and to support each other.

She was vigorous and active up until her untimely death.

Mrs. Johnson is survived by her husband, Michael; her five children and their spouses, Sarah Watt (Zachary), Matthew (Jacqueline), William, Yazata Johnson (Michael Henry) and Annie Johnson; her three grandchildren, Samuel Watt, Oliver Johnson and Nathaniel Watt; her mother, Sally Lutz; her sister, Ann Jones, and her two brothers, Bobby Lutz and Frederick Lutz.  

A funeral service was held on Dec. 18th.

Donations in her memory may be mailed to the Presbyterian Church of Upper Montclair, 53 Norwood Ave., Upper Montclair NJ 07043 or made online at

Arrangements were by Hugh M. Moriarty Funeral Home. Online condolences: