Margarite Johnson, born Antonia Godoy in San Luis, Argentina, left us on the morning of January 16, 2018. She was 93 years old.
Margarite had a long and colorful life. Raised by her grandmother, Margarite, in Justo Darac, Argentina at an early age young Antonia developed into a strong, determined and industrious girl. In her mid-twenties she had the opportunity to leave Argentina for employment at a cosmetic company in Germany, and she jumped at the chance.
It was while in Europe that Margarite met her future husband, Charles G. Johnson, a widower from Santa Barbara. Their love for one another and their romance were unparalleled. Charles saw and fell madly in love with a bright, spirited and kind young woman who had a zest for life and a deep devotion to improving the world. Margarite fell hard for a handsome, strong gentleman who loved her with all his heart and offered her the world.
Charles and Margarite married in 1967, and at that time Margarite changed her name from Antonia, becoming Margarite Johnson. The Johnsons lived in Santa Barbara where Charlie worked for the Santa Barbara County. Margarite was a homemaker and stepmother to Charlie’s three sons, who had previously lost their own mother in a car accident.
After years of dedicated study of US History, US Government and English, Margarite very proudly naturalized to become a US Citizen on May 23, 1972. Her citizenship was a source of enormous pride for Margarite, and something she took very seriously. A scholar by nature, throughout her lifetime she studied and practiced making daily efforts to learn about the country she called home.
For nearly three decades Margarite and Charlie had a very happy life together, that included traveling, spending time with family and volunteering in the community. Charlie, who was fourteen years Margarite’s senior, had always been a loving and devoted husband and companion to Margarite, but when he suffered a stroke and fell ill, his sons, who lived in Washington State, came to Santa Barbara and took him, leaving Margarite to live on her own. Although Margarite and Charlie corresponded regularly for the rest of Charlie’s life, and Margarite was able to make the journey to Washington to visit her beloved Charlie in his residential care facility a couple of times, they never again lived together.
Magarite’s life in Santa Barbara after losing Charlie was one of austerity and dedication to others. She volunteered at the Braille Institute and Catholic Charities, and was recognized with service awards from both agencies. She also attended Mass each day, devoting herself to the Catholic Church and practicing her strong faith in God.
Margarite lived independently until the age of ninety. It was then, with the assistance of others, that she moved from her apartment, first to Villa Santa Barbara and then to Cliffview Terrace, a residential care facility for the elderly. Margarite spent three good years at Cliffview Terrace where she remained happily independent. She played Bingo, listened to musicians each day and dined with her peers. One photo shows Margarite on her 93rd birthday, celebrating with friends and caregivers at Cliffview Terrace.
In the final days of Margarite’s life she simply lost the will to live. She told her doctor that she wanted to go home to God. In keeping with her wishes, very little intervention was made to keep Margarite with us. She was put on hospice care, kept comfortable and visited by a Catholic priest. Within a matter of days, she slipped away. Hers was truly a peaceful and gentle passing.
One of Margarite’s favorite prayers was the Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It goes:
O most holy Heart of Jesus, foundation of every blessing, I adore You, I love You, and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer You this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to Your will. Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in You and for You. Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions; give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Prayer granted, sweet and wonderful Margarite. Rest in peace.
In keeping with her prearranged plans, Margarite’s body was cremated and scattered at sea. There will be no memorial service, but a City tree will be dedicated in her name. Any donation you might like to make to the Braille Institute or Catholic Charities would be deeply appreciated.