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Anne Beckwith (Miller) Johnson

1924 - 2013, Santa Barbara

Anne Beckwith (Miller) Johnson was born in Riverside California on August 27, 1924. She died in her sleep in the company of her oldest and youngest, at Cottage Hospital on December 19th after a long age-related decline.

Following graduation from high school at 16, she moved to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB (then S.B. State College), where she eyed the ebullient Vernon O. Johnson striding across the quad and married him six months later as he enlisted in the Air Force in March 1943. More than 1,000 letters between them during the war are a testament to their young passion, his commitment to making the world better, and her willingness to believe in his dreams. Both only children, together they bore eight. During the height of the Cold War in 1960, Vernon and Anne packed them in a cranky old bus and spent 20 months driving around the world. Her book describing the trip, Home is Where The Bus Is, drawn from extensive diaries, described how two adults and eight children would become ambassadors for peace in an otherwise fear-filled world. Unfortunately this humor- and challenge-rich chronicle of world outreach was published the week before 9/11.

Anne was a smart, caring, good-humored woman who, in addition to her eight, was a foster parent to at least 12 teenagers and was a surrogate mother to many more. She worked at Quad Group from 1976 to 1986, where taped to her typewriter was “If at first you do succeed, try to hide your astonishment.” After retirement she began taking writing classes and, in her 70s, taught writing at Adult Education while publishing vignettes in local newspapers as well as several literary magazines. She volunteered at the SB Public Library, Planned Parenthood, was a docent at the Museum of Natural History, as well as being a long-term member of the Unitarian Church where she served on the Board of Trustees.

Anne is survived by her children Christie Powell, Jill Johnson, Court Johnson, Jenda Johnson, Jeffrey Johnson, Vicki Johnson, Kara Sandoval, and Andy Johnson, and by 10 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. The family is grateful to Cecilia Garatti for her years of care and friendship. Donations may be given in her honor to the Santa Barbara Food Bank. A celebration of her life will be announced.

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