Patricia Condon Johnson, known to many as “PJ,” died on July 14, 2020. She was 74. While her early onset dementia eventually changed her life significantly, she continued to care for others in her community up until her passing. Her children and friend Carel Schneider were with her when she passed.
Born to Max Condon (b. 1912–93) and May Elise Pyeatte Condon Lancaster (b. 1912–97) on March 18, 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio, she was raised by her mother and grandparents with her siblings Suzanne Trammell McClain (1939–2011), Michael Condon (1947–), and Lisa Lancaster (1951–), mostly in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. She attended the School of the Ozarks (1964–65) where she met and married Kenneth Patrick Johnson (1967). He was soon drafted into the Vietnam War. She went to St. Luke’s School of Nursing in St. Louis, Missouri during his service, earned her nursing degree, and worked as a registered nurse from 1970 until her retirement in 2011.
In her autobiographical notes, she said: “I have always wanted to be #1 a mother, #2 a nurse. I got to be both!” Though she later amended this with the sobering comment: “The greatest thing about being a mother is getting to be a grandmother!” PJ and Kenneth (md. 1966-84) adopted Timothy Patrick Johnson (1972–) first and Amanda Beth Johnson (1973–) a year later. Within the next year, she bore Andrew Michael Johnson (1974–). She was a mother. “Three in diapers” became her catch phrase for this defining period of her life. Despite her best efforts, her children were generally wild and ornery in the following years. Though it’s been reported that all three later turned out to be “alright”—her words.
In the 1970s and 80s, PJ worked in Tulsa in a variety of hospital nursing jobs: labor and delivery, recovery, post-partum, neo-natal and coronary critical care. In the mid-80s, PJ eventually switched to hospice nursing and specialized in home hospice from that point onward. By all peer and patient accounts, she was an exceptionally good nurse. She was also known to be assertive, if not pushy, on behalf of her patients.
She was married to Pamela Pretz from 1997 until 2008 and moved often in southwest Montana. Over the last twenty-five years, PJ trained in watercolor and sculpting. She created many hospice related pieces and wrote poems, some of which were featured in local shows. She also enjoyed the friendships and singing of the Montana Women’s Chorus/Missoula in the 2000s.
PJ was no small personality. Often right, she helped others see their miscalculations in the least subtle way possible. She was as quick to offer a hug, even to brand new friends, as to defend the vulnerable. She was more proud of her height (6 feet) than she probably should have been, but she loved people of all races and elevations.
Patricia Condon Johnson is survived by her two younger siblings (Mike and Lisa), three children (Patrick, Amanda, and Andrew), and seven grandchildren (Benjamin, Anika, Claudia, Olivia, Lukas, Luisa, Liam).The family is planning a delayed memorial (post-COVID). Donations of hugs can be made to your nearest loved ones, especially the ones you need to forgive.