Kathryn Hope "Katie" Johnson, an accountant and field hockey player and coach, died Sept. 30 at her Washington, D.C., home as a result of an epileptic seizure. The former Roland Park resident was 23.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Roland Park, she was the daughter of Dr. Harry Wallace Johnson Jr., a University of Maryland associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and Dr. Mary Johanna "Mary Jo" Gutberlet, the director of maternal and fetal medicine at WellSpan Health York in Pennsylvania.
While a student at Roland Park Country School, Ms. Johnson played field hockey and squash, graduating in 2012.
She earned a bachelor’s degree at Rhodes College in Tennessee, where she also played field hockey and coached for a year after her graduation. She earned a master’s degree in accounting earlier this year, also from Rhodes. Ms. Johnson also attended The Island School in Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas. She spent a year of study in Florence, Italy, and also visited Rome.
Ms. Johnson remained active in field hockey and worked at a program at the Johns Hopkins University this past summer, assisting in the operation of a camp.
“She could light up the lives of others,” said Jane Wells, Johns Hopkins’ head field hockey coach. “She had a calm, steady presence and was ready to help and support what was going on. She had a knack of knowing what needed to be done before you thought to ask for it.”
Ms. Wells, who earlier coached at Rhodes, said of Ms. Johnson: “In sports, it’s easy to get caught up in scores and a game’s outcome. Katie always had the best perspective and insights beyond what happened on the field on one day.”
The coach recalled how Ms. Johnson tried out as a freshman for Rhodes’ field hockey program. “She came in when there was a big class of players, and I had never seen her play. She tried out by herself. And even though we had a full roster that year, she became a part of the team and added to the culture of that freshman year.
“She had some injuries in her years at Rhodes, and there were times I knew she might be hurting, but Katie had a strong sense of resiliency and a quiet toughness. She went on to be an integral player in her senior year. She was our rock on defense.”
Ms. Wells said Ms. Johnson made the transition to coaching after she stopped playing. “She bloomed into an amazing coach. She had a talent. She was able to have conversations with her peers easily, and she knew what was in the best interest of her team.”
Laney Siems, a friend from Baltimore, said, “Katie was self-assured, strong-willed and fearless. She was independent, and people relied upon her. She was easy be a friend to, and she had a contagious laugh. She had the gift of bringing people together who would not normally have met. She was also humble. She did not want people to come to her games. She often said, ‘I’m not that good.’ ”
“You would go to her for advice, questions or help,” said Mary Rose Hazel, a classmate at Rhodes. “She had solutions and the right answers.”
Ms. Hazel added: “She was true to Baltimore and was a huge Ravens fan. She wore her Joe Flacco jersey everywhere. She could take you up on a Harry Potter quiz, too.”
Jenna Reifler, who initially met Ms. Johnson in the fifth grade, recalled how close her friend was to her family.
“I often saw — and she demonstrated — how important her family was to her. Their home was open to us,” she said.
Friends recalled that Ms. Johnson enjoyed baking and making chocolate marble squares. “She liked to walk from Roland Park to Homeland and meet her classmates, and maybe pick up a lunch at the Eddie’s market,” said Ms. Reifler.
She had recently moved to Washington and begun work at the accounting firm KPMG. She recently passed two of four parts of the examination to become a certified public accountant.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at the Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity, 20 E. Ridgely Road in Timonium.
In addition to her parents, survivors include a brother, Michael Woodward Johnson of Washington; a sister, Molly Elizabeth Johnson of Richmond, Va.; her maternal grandmother, Valerie Ederer Gutberlet of Baltimore; and cousins, aunts and uncles.