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Myrtle Johnson, retired Annapolis nurse and family historian, dies

Myrtle Lorraine Scott Johnson died of coronavirus June 10 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. She was 89 and lived in Annapolis.
Myrtle Lorraine Scott Johnson died of coronavirus June 10 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. She was 89 and lived in Annapolis.

Myrtle Lorraine Scott Johnson, a retired nurse and family historian and storyteller, died of the coronavirus June 10 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. She was 89 and lived in Annapolis.

“My mother had been a patient at the Crofton Center,” said her son, William Carl Calhoun of Baltimore. “She was a in good shape on Mother’s Day and had been just as spry as she could be. She contracted the virus and passed quickly. She did not suffer.”

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Born in Annapolis, she was the daughter of Bertha Scales Scott, a homemaker and Ira Bernard Scott, a Chesapeake Bay waterman.

“Her beginning years were spent between two towns, Annapolis and Shady Side,” her son said. “She was influenced by her grandmother, Jane Scales and Lula B. Scott, a noted black educator in the Anne Arundel County community of Shady Side.”

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She was baptized at Asbury United Methodist Church and attended Annapolis and Shady Side schools. She was a 1949 graduate of the Wiley H. Bates High School in Annapolis.

“She loved Sunday School and was a fervent worshiper,” her son said.

After high school, on the advice of her family, she pursued a career in nursing. She moved to Kentucky and was a nurse at the Winnie A. Scott Memorial Hospital, a racially segregated facility in Frankfort, Kentucky. She continued her studies at Johns Hopkins Hospital in nursing in the mid-1960s and became a Licensed Practical Nurse.

“Her specialty was the care of elderly patients,” her son said. “Families trusted her and often sent her notes of praise for her hard work.”

She returned to Annapolis in the 1960s and served at Anne Arundel General Hospital, now Anne Arundel Medical Center. She worked alongside Dr. Aris T. Allen, an Annapolis physician active in political circles. She retired nearly 30 years ago.

“Myrtle was the family griot sharing the heritage of the Scotts and Scales,” her son said. “She had a great sense of recall and experiences of the times surrounding her life.”

In 1966, she met and married William “Cook” Johnson.

After her retirement, Mrs. Johnson became active in the Community Action Agency of Annapolis and resided at the Wiley H. Bates Senior Living Facility in Annapolis. She volunteered as a receptionist at the residential building where she was once a student. She also established a weekly Bible study group at the senior home.

She later moved to the Crofton Care and Rehab Center in Crofton. She did knitting and arts and crafts and enjoyed taking bus trips.

In addition to her son, survivors include five other sons, Lamont Johnson of Crofton, Bernard Philip Calhoun of Rantoul, Illinois, Kenneth Blair Calhoun, also of Rantoul, Illinois, Steven Taylor Calhoun of Ishpeming, Minnesota and Randolph David Calhoun of Indianapolis, Indiana; a daughter, Sharae Green of Bowie; 18 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren. Her husband, William “Cook” Johnson, died in 1994. A daughter, Mechiko Calhoun died in 2000. A son, Gregory Johnson, died in 2015.

Services were held Friday at the William Reese and Sons Mortuary.

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