Angela Johnese, advocate for children and youth, dies

Angela Johnese, who worked for Advocates for Children and Youth and the mayor's office, died.

Angela Terrell Conyers Johnese, an attorney and juvenile justice advocate for children and youth, died Sept. 23 at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital of complications after a recent surgery. The Parkville resident was 38.

Born Angela Terrell Conyers near Florence, S.C., she was the daughter of Johnny Lee Conyers and Milinda Cameron Conyers. She attended local schools and earned a bachelor's degree at Syracuse University. She was a graduate of the American University School of Law.

She had worked with the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana in New Orleans. In 2004, she became the co-founder of the Youth Empowerment Project, also in New Orleans.

"She was kind, caring and compassionate. She was also a very grounded person," said Melissa Sawyer, executive director of the Youth Empowerment Project, who is a New Orleans resident. "She was a rock to other people."

In 2007 she joined Advocates for Children and Youth in Baltimore and became its director of juvenile justice.

"Angela was a lovely woman," said Becky Wagner, executive director of the Advocates for Children and Youth. "She cared about everyone, every neighbor and every colleague. I think that part of that was rooted in her deep faith commitment. She was a juvenile justice advocate par excellence. She never stopped. She never gave up. We loved her for the huge human heart she brought to her work."

Ms. Wagner said that Ms. Johnese had a fun-loving side. "She was fun in the office and was a sports fan and a tad competitive. She was a Syracuse graduate, and that team always was first for her, she said.

In 2013 she joined the administration of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as director of the criminal justice office. She left the post this year.

"Everyone listened to her perspective," said the Rev. Heber Brown III, her pastor. "She was an insightful woman. She was widely regarded in our congregation."

He described her as having "grace under pressure." He also said she gave her time and encouragement to those who needed it.

"She was a mentor to our young members. It was a big-sister relationship," he said. "She was also a bridge to our older members."

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, 430 E. Belvedere Ave., where she was a deaconess and co-chair of its social justice ministry.

In addition to her parents, survivors include her husband of 11 years, Willie Johnese III; her grandfather, Winslow Cameron; a sister, Shantella Conyers Harris; and a brother, Daniel McCutcheon, all of Pamplico, S.C.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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