Mary Patricia Robinson Johnson (known as Patsy, Pat, Mary Pat), 89, passed away peacefully on Dec. 12, 2021, at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center-Mainland Campus, Pomona, N.J., after a brief illness.
She was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on Sept. 15, 1932, the daughter of Herbert A. and Mary Maher Robinson.
Mary Pat attended West Catholic Girls High School, graduating as valedictorian in 1950. She played first chair violin in the school orchestra and won recognition for her writing and academic achievements. In 1954 she married the love of her life, Leigh M. Johnson of Trevose, Pa., after they met at a dance at Chez Vous near her home in Southwest Philadelphia. “The lovebirds” were deeply devoted to each other throughout their 64- year marriage. Leigh’s work as a research scientist took them and their family to a number of different communities, including Havertown, Pa., Shrewsbury, N.J., Rhinebeck, N.Y., and South Euclid, Ohio. Longtime lovers of the Jersey Shore, they retired and lived briefly in Longport, N.J., but discovered they missed the Midwest and moved to Massillon, Ohio, where they lived for 23 years. In 2015 they returned to South Jersey where they entered assisted living at UMC at Pitman. After Leigh’s passing in 2019, Mary Pat lived at Preferred Care at Absecon
Mary Pat attended West Chester State Teachers College and taught elementary school before raising her children. After they were in school she returned to complete her bachelor’s degree at Ursuline College and her master’s in English at John Carroll University, both in Ohio. She taught English and writing classes at John Carroll, Cuyahoga Community College and at Walsh College in Canton, Ohio, and volunteered with the Canton City Schools adult literacy program. While living in Longport, she tutored students at then-Atlantic Community College and taught inmates at the Fairton Prison in Cumberland County.
Mary Pat was a devout Roman Catholic and lived the values of charity, compassion and kindness. While a parishioner at St. Gregory the Great Church in South Euclid, she trained and served as a Steven Minister. At St. Michaels, she was active in the Garden Club, writing the group’s newsletter.
She loved to read and taught her children to read before they entered school, imparting a love of books to each one. A faithful letter writer, Mary Pat kept in touch with her many friends and family with long, news-filled notes scripted in her beautiful penmanship. She compiled an impressive store of greeting cards and never forgot a birthday, anniversary or special occasion. A longtime baseball fan, she came to love the sport as a girl and became an ace at keeping the scorecard when she attended Phillies games with her dad at Shibe Park.
Mary Pat was preceded in death by her parents and her husband. She is survived by her four children, Kathleen Corbalis (Mark) of Galloway Twp., N.J.; Mark Johnson (Keil) of Herndon, Va., Judy Szink (Rick) of Tampa, Fla.; and Linda Johnson of Oakland, Calif.; seven grandchildren: Jay Corbalis; Jennie, Emily and Matthew Szink; Isaiah and Leilani Johnson; and Holden Johnson-Booth; and one great-grandchild, Campbell Corbalis.
Graveside services at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pa., will be private, with a memorial service planned for a later date.
Donations in Mary Pat’s name may be made to: Equal Justice Initiative, 122 Commerce St., Montgomery, AL 36104, https://eji.org/.