Helen E. Johnson, 92, Westport

Posted 9/27/20

Helen E. “Betty” (Allen) Johnson, age 92, of Westport, died at home on September 13, 2020, with a slight smile on her face. She was under care of her two daughters and South Coast …

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Helen E. Johnson, 92, Westport


Helen E. “Betty” (Allen) Johnson, age 92, of Westport, died at home on September 13, 2020, with a slight smile on her face. She was under care of her two daughters and South Coast Hospice.  

Betty was delightfully social, fun and funny – with a mischievous streak. She was a devoted mother, grandmother and friend. She avoided “unpleasantness” and could be snobby, sometimes hilariously so. For the last 21 years, she lived in the Westport Community, lunched at Partners Village Store and read the New York Times. She enjoyed the company of her grandchildren, driving them to school and reading to them.  

In Westport, Betty was an early riser. Until age 88, she enjoyed her morning swim, side-stroking from the beach to Elephant Rock, then relaxing to float. She was an active member of the United Congregational Church of Little Compton. She adored the music of organist Michael Bahmann. Until last March, she visited her husband David weekly at the Bristol RI Veterans Home. At age 92, she showed spunk and talent, playing seated games of catch and soft-smash tennis with daughter “Annie.” What joy!

Betty was born in 1928, the daughter of Earle Douglas Allen and Helen (Allison) Allen. She grew up with her sisters, in Belmont, Mass., a point of pride. Late in life, Betty fondly recalled childhood ice cream trips, roller skating, grade school teachers (each a cherished name), summers spent in Ipswich and Marblehead delighting in a rowboat and a brisk swim, and the comfort of Belmont winter afternoons sipping cocoa with her Nana and doting aunts. She loved the rhyming sounds of poems, reciting early favorites well into her final year. 

In high school, Betty became a cheerleader and was elected to Filene’s Fashion Board. She imbibed her father’s love of opera and classical music, played piano with spirit and sight-read well.  

In 1947, Betty graduated from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. After certification at Forsyth, she worked in Boston as a dental hygienist. Betty married F. David Johnson of Belmont in 1948. They had five children. In 1963, they moved to Weston, Mass., and later had one more.

Betty believed in higher education, world-class medical care, sunshine, fresh air, outdoor play, sleep, vitamin C, protein and picnics. There were beach trips to White’s Pond in Concord, Cape Ann and Chatham; summers in Westport; and family ski trips to Hartwell Hill and NH. When family finances required, Betty returned to work in dental hygiene. Later, she switched to MIT Transfer Admissions – a boon for homesick students.

Ever-practical, Betty treasured many of the civilized aspects of life, collected china, refinished furniture. She loved houses and set a beautiful table.  

Betty leaves her husband of 72 years, F. David Johnson of Bristol; six children, David and Anne Marie (Kearney) Johnson of Ocala, Fla., Betsy Johnson of Epsom, NH, Peter and Tanya (Gee) Johnson of Los Altos, Calif., and Westport, William and Mary Lou (Auvil) Johnson of Natick, Mass., Anne M. Johnson of Little Compton, and E. Douglas and Shannon (Murphy) Johnson of Exeter, NH, and Westport; six grandchildren, Brian, Eric, Sequoia, Ella, Hanna and Bo; two great-grandchildren, Sebastian and Penelope; a bevy of nieces and nephews; and a few lifelong friends. She is predeceased by three sisters:, Marjorie (Allen) Meyer, Barbara Allen and Lois (Allen) Daniels.

Services and interment will be private due to the pandemic. Memorial contributions in Betty’s honor may be made to: Hawes-Brayton Music Fund, UCC Church, PO Box 506, Little Compton, RI 02837.

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
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