Patricia Dixon Johnson, a retired teacher and educational volunteer, died of heart failure Monday at Roland Park Place. She was 90 and had lived in Phoenix in Baltimore County.
Born Patricia Mary Coles in Seattle, she was the daughter of Norman E. Coles, a construction business owner, and Franc Delong Coles, an assistant to the engineering dean at the University of California at Los Angeles.
She earned a bachelor's degree at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1944 and then joined the Cadet Nurse Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
"She wanted to contribute to the country's war effort and felt this would be an effective way," said daughter Natalie D. McCeney of Baltimore.
While in nurses training, she met her future husband, Dr. William T. Dixon Jr., who was a medical resident at Hopkins and later a psychiatrist and on the staff of the Sheppard Pratt Hospital
"My mother loved to play the piano and remembered the parties the residents threw at Christmas and other holidays where she would play ragtime and jazz tunes to keep things lively," her daughter said. "She had a large repertoire and could play by ear. She was always in demand."
After the couple's 1946 marriage, they initially settled in the Rockland Mills section of Brooklandville and later in Phoenix in northern Baltimore County.
"My mother was a homemaker and spent hours beautifying their property by clearing brush and planting flower gardens," her daughter said. "She joined the Garden Club of Twenty and also honed her bridge-playing skills."
She and her husband began a dining club for friends, where the members hosted each other. They named it the Gourmet Club and had an annual theme. The couples also occasionally traveled to sample the cuisine of other countries, including Scotland, Spain and other European countries.
After her youngest child began kindergarten, she earned a teaching certificate and a master's degree in education at what is now Towson University. She then taught English for 13 years at the old Cockeysville High School.
"My mother was a strong woman with a wonderful sense of humor," her daughter said. "She endured several crises in her life. She contracted polio when she was 26 and spent several months in a hospital. She was determined not to end up in an iron lung because she had an infant and a 3-year-old at home."
After her husband died in 1991, she continued to live on their property in a one-floor home they had built in 1984. During this time she traveled and began volunteering.
Although she was retired from teaching, she tutored at the St. Ignatius Loyola Academy on Calvert Street. She then taught English as a second language in a Baltimore County public school program. She also taught unemployed and underemployed young women at the Caroline Center in East Baltimore.
A member of the Roman Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier in Hunt Valley, she was part of a group that made quilts for the needy. She was also accomplished in crocheting worker and made blankets and clothes for her grandchildren.
Family members said she took care of her grandchildren from the time they were born until they entered school, enabling her two older daughters to work full time.
While recuperating from knee replacement surgery, she became reacquainted with Dr. J.T.H. "Jerry" Johnson, a former neighbor and orthopedic surgeon. They married in 2004.
Mrs. Johnson read widely — novels, nonfiction and magazines.
"She was a wonderful conversationalist and kept up with current affairs," her daughter said. "She also corresponded widely and enjoyed reading articles on a computer."
She also started a writing group at Roland Park Place and enjoyed poetry and limericks.
The family will receive friends Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road. Details for a life celebration to be held in September are incomplete.
In addition to her husband and daughter, survivors include a son, William T. Dixon III of Seattle; three other daughters, Sarah D. Isaacs and Frances D. Roomets, both of Baltimore, and Patricia D. Siegel, also of Seattle; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun