Dorothy Payne (Foye) Johnson was born on August 7, 1925, in Lynn, Massachusetts, to the late Lloyd Azel Foye and Lillian Marie (Payne) Foye, both of Marblehead. Dorothy passed from this life on August 26, 2019, just 19 days after celebrating her 94th birthday with family in Smithville, Missouri, at the Smithville Living Center.
Dorothy graduated from Swampscott High School, class of 1944, on May 25, where she received college points equal to a sophomore level in college. Unfortunately, due to her father’s illness, she was unable to attend college to complete her degree. With a feisty spirit and can-do attitude, Dorothy was a groundbreaking working woman for her time, working as a sales woman at TW Rogers Company in Lynn and as a clerk in a bank before she married.
In 1952, Dorothy met Theodore Kingsley, Johnson, Jr., at the Universalist Church in Lynn. They had a delightful courtship. In later years, they both happily recounted their dating days and the fun stories of their times socializing at the Beagle Manor, the name dubbed to the house rented by a group of single engineers attending Northeastern University.
On May 22, 1954, the jovial couple married, and became members of the Congregational Church of Swampscott. They took up residence in Marblehead, where they started their family. When describing her domestic life to her granddaughter, Jessica, in a letter to help with a high school research paper, Dorothy wrote, “I am a homemaker and very proud of my gifted, well-adjusted children and husband of 54 years! I do not consider it as a job at all, but a chance to grow with love throughout the years of the past and coming future.” Little did she know then that her marriage to Ted would last a total of 64 joy-filled years.
She was an active member of the church, helping with church fairs, and she and her husband were Deacons at the church: she was involved with the family in the soap box derbies; she helped with the Little League snack sales; and she was the Girl Scout cookie sales coordinator. She also enjoyed fashion, decorating, sewing, and gardening. Dorothy’s and Ted’s favorite activity together was dancing, and they were known to cut a rug on many occasions dancing at their favorite clubs, weddings, or even in the living room. After they were married, they encouraged their kids to dance with them and never stopped dancing. Even while living at the nursing home, when Dorothy was happy, especially when she had visitors, she could be seen dancing down the hallway.
Dorothy delighted in her family life, but she also was involved in helping Ted with business ideas and accompanying him on his business trips abroad. She even helped develop color schemes and designs for marketing materials when Ted worked at Marion Health and Safety (later Marion Merrell Dow). Ted’s business took the family to many happy homes, moving from Mohawk Road in Marblehead, Massachusetts, to Candy Lane in Manlius, New York, to Slingerlands Street in Slingerlands, New York; Eldorado Drive in Clifton Park, New York; Roxbury Road, Rockford, Illinois; Blue Spruce Lane in Ballston Lake, New York; Kansas City, Missouri, then back to Clifton Park, New York, where they resided until entering the nursing home in their later years.
Later in life, she helped Ted coordinate the fan club for the children’s show, Pappyland, which formerly aired on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and The Learning Channel (TLC). Dorothy spent many long hours answering Pappy’s fan mail from adoring children. Both Dorothy and Ted loved to share their Pappyland stories and shows with their grandchildren, helping to instill a love of art in them all. She also helped her daughter, Ashley, with the Bradford Mailing business.
Dorothy was very proud of her New England heritage — not just a Daughter of the American Revolution, but actually an eleventh generation descendant from Peregrine White, the first baby born on the Mayflower as it sat in Cape Cod Harbor in 1620 and the second baby born aboard the ship during that momentous voyage. He also was the first known English child born to the Pilgrims in America. Mrs. Johnson was just as proud of her husband’s New England roots, tied back to Increase and Cotton Mather of the Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony and Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony, who also was a voyager on the Mayflower.
Dorothy is preceded in death by her parents, Lloyd and Lillian Foye of Marblehead; Uncle Edward Everett Foye of Lynn; cousin, Edward Ingalles Foye of Lynn; her eldest son, Theodore (Ted) Kingsley Johnson III, Aliso Viejo, California; and her husband, Theodore Kingsley Johnson, Jr.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Deborah (Johnson) and Richard Rowells from Elk Grove Park, IL; daughter-in-law Kathy (Short) Johnson from Aliso Viejo, CA; son and daughter-in-law Robert and Sherry (Snyder) Johnson from Kansas City, MO; daughter Ashley (William Mather) Johnson, currently living in Jacksonville, FL; grandchildren: Jessica Benson and her husband, Nick Benson (IL), Matthew Rowells (IL), Kellie (Skye) Johnson (CA), Theodore (Teddy) Kingsley Johnson IV (CA), Christopher (Chris) Johnson (CA), and Andrew (AJ) Johnson (MO).
In addition, Dorothy is survived by the following nieces and nephews: Roberta (Camlin) Hanlon and family, Scott Camlin and family, Linda Camlin and family, Steven Camlin and family, Dawn (Nitzsche) Miller and family, Brenda (Nitzsche) Maloney and family, Daniel Nitzsche and family, and Bryan Nitzsche and family.
To send flowers to Dorothy's family, please visit our floral section.