Carlene Lynette Eggleston Johnson, a retired Baltimore City Schools mathematics teacher who later sold real estate, died of pancreatic cancer June 21 at her daughter’s Greensboro, North Carolina, home. The former Columbia and Mondawmin Avenue resident was 72.
Born in her grandparents’ home in Powhatan, Virginia, she was the daughter of Carl Eggleston and Seidah Shaheed, who was born Blanche Edith Bradley.
“Her early years living in Virginia provided many treasured memories in the country with cousins and family,” said her daughter, Alana Erin Martin.
As a child, Ms. Johnson moved with her family to Philadelphia. She attended Audenreid Junior High School.
“She took a bus from North Philly to South Philly daily for school as part of a desegregation program. Along the way, she made lifelong friends among the other students,” her daughter said. “She created one of those friendships 60 years ago.”
When her father joined the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn, she relocated to Baltimore with the family and lived on Chatham Road.
“My mother was a strong believer in education and graduated from Western High School in 1967 at the age of 17,” her daughter said. “At Western, she went to school and worked a shift schedule but found time to join organizations like Future Teachers of America and intramural basketball.”
She went on to what is now Morgan State University and earned a degree in mathematics.
“She was a student through the turbulent late 1960s period of the Vietnam War protests, Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and Black Power movement,” her daughter said.
She joined Baltimore City Schools and was on the faculty of Pimlico Junior High School and Mergenthaler Vocational Technical School.
“She helped her students build foundational skills that would aid them later in life,” her daughter said. “She was never one to just teach to the test. She spent hours putting together lesson plans that honored the needs of her students.”
Ms. Johnson also led Maryland Math, Engineering, Science Achievement for her schools.
In 2001, Ms. Johnson retired after 31 years. She was later a substitute teacher at Randallstown High School for about a year.
“Even after retiring, her students from Pimlico and Mergenthaler continued to stop her,” her daughter said. “They often gave Carlene a hug, thanking her for the impact she made on their lives.”
While teaching at Pimlico, she met her future husband, Aaron Acquilla Johnson.
“They both spent a year working in the school’s annex and often took breaks together,” her daughter said. “One day, Aaron stopped coming to the break room and didn’t return for several weeks. When he did, he comically asked, ‘Did you miss me?’ and the rest was history.”
The couple married Jan. 5, 1979.
She and her daughter had a bond and traveled widely. They spent time together over meals and at concerts, football games and wine tastings.
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After she fully retired, Ms. Johnson considered what to do with her next phase of life.
“She was always interested in houses and decided to pursue her real estate license,” her daughter said. “She helped dozens of families find their dream homes in Maryland and Pennsylvania,” including her daughter and son-in-law, Julian.
“We went to see and look around,” her daughter said. “She could be selective about how many clients she took on at one time. She almost always built friendships with them. Her relations were always very good. She served people looking for homes in Baltimore County, Howard County and parts of the city.”
Ms. Johnson took on the role of grandmother of twins with enthusiasm.
“She became their gammy,” said her daughter. “She was a constant presence in my twins’ lives. In 2020, she stepped in again with an extraordinary effort to supplement their second grade virtual schooling during the pandemic. She ensured they progressed ahead of grade standards. My mother made a difference in the lives of everyone she touched.”
Ms. Johnson is survived by her daughter, Alana Erin Martin of Greensboro, North Carolina; two sisters, Waheedah Shaheed of Harlem in New York City and Kathy Eggleston of Boca Raton, Florida; a brother, Men Maā Aim Rā of Chicago; a stepson, Aaron Johnson Jr. of Poolesville; and two grandchildren. Her former husband, an educator and coach, Aaron Acquilla Johnson, died in 2014.
A celebration of life for Ms. Johnson will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the March Life Tribute Center at 5616 Old Court Road in Randallstown.