Betty Lynne Johnson

Betty Lynne Johnson, 91, passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 15, 2020.  Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 11 o’clock at First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg.  Visitation is at the church from 9:30 to 11:00 prior to the service.  Interment will be at Highland Cemetery in Hattiesburg.

Betty was born on May 1, 1928 at Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga, Tennessee to James Robert and Lynne Simmons Joines.  She grew up in Meridian, Mississippi with her beloved mother and sister.  Betty graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in sociology in 1951, then worked at her family’s business, Milton Supply Company in Meridian, as the bookkeeper until she married John Ernest Johnson, Jr on March 15, 1958.  She went back to school at 56 years old to earn her Master of Social Work degree.  Betty worked at Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources for 21 years as a Clinical Social Worker, retiring in 2009 at 81 years old.  She was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg.

In recent weeks, as family and friends have spoken of Betty Lynne, it has been of her devotion to her faith, family and friends, and of her resilience and selfless love.  Professionally, she was known as a fierce advocate for her clients and enjoyed a rewarding career; amongst family and friends, she was a steadfast source of love and support.  Her life was one of service: to her church as a Sunday School teacher and active member of the Womens’ Circles for many years; in her community as a member of Hattiesburg Junior Auxiliary and as Hattiesburg PTO President; and to her profession as a mentor and friend to students and colleagues alike.  By any measure, Betty was truly a lifelong learner, whether she was looking for new ways to help her clients or new recipes for the meals she prepared for her family’s Sunday lunch.  She was an avid reader.  When her vision began to fail, she quickly moved to books on tape, and never lost her curiosity and genuine interest in learning and sharing.  She loved music, playing the piano, and could be found on occasion singing and dancing a few steps when she thought no one was watching. 

Betty was preceded in death by her father, James Robert Joines, her stepfather, Newell Lee Milton, her mother, Lynne “Mimi” Milton, her husband, Ernest, and her sister, Gloria Milton Straus.  She is survived by four children:  Amy Sevier of Hattiesburg (Robert), John Ernest “Jay” Johnson, III of Sharpsburg, Georgia (Terri), James Robert “Robbie” Johnson of Hattiesburg (Subrina) and Lynne Brown of Jackson, Alabama, as well as the eight grandchildren she cherished:  Lauren and Madeleine Johnson, Christian Sevier, David and Alex Brown, and Merritt, Joines and Meade Johnson.  Betty Lynne also leaves, as she always said, “the best friends and family anyone could ask for.”