Eclipse Award Recipient 2021, Barbara Anne Johnson
Updated: Oct 20, 2021
Barbara Johnson, 84, a native of Orange County, was born on August 6, 1937. She has lived in Orange County all her life with the exception of a brief stay in New Jersey. She is the mother of eight children and is proud of what they have accomplished in life.
Mrs. Johnson reflects on the time that her sister Mildred, cousin Ann, and friend Elizabeth went to Richmond to try out for the Ted Mack Amateur Hour. Although they did not win, she says it was a great experience for them and was a life lesson in showing that it is not necessary to be number one to be a winner.
"Noonie," the name she is often called, states that she learned early that her mission in life was to help others. She says, "We are in this world to help others by paying it forward." This has been her lifelong goal. In spite of not having a college education she helped countless numbers of people seek training and take advantage of opportunities that would better prepare them for job and career success. Many of these inroads came through a program she helped manage called CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act). Through CETA, Mrs. Johnson helped many "get on their feet."
Some of Mrs. Johnson's other places of employment were Coleman's Cafe, once a mainstay in the town community. She also worked as a receptionist at Johnson's Funeral Home, in the office of Dr. Philip Johnson, and at the Chamber of Commerce where she believes her example helped others believe that success is always worth the effort it requires.
During her spare time Mrs. Johnson taught herself how to use a computer, helped others prepare their income taxes, and became a licensed beautician. She also helped as an after-school tutor at Nazareth Baptist Church. Her last job before retirement was as a Teacher’s Aide at Prospect Heights Middle School. She confessed that at times it was challenging.
In all that she has been and all that she has done, her main goal was to help others to wake up and stand up so that life would not pass them by. In her words, "Pay it forward."