Charlestown Loses One of Its Most Cherished Residents: Flo Johnson Passes Away after Brief Illness

March 13, 2014
By
Florence Johnson

Florence Johnson

Florence L. (Ineson) Johnson, who was perhaps one of the most patriotic women to have walked the streets of Charlestown and dedicated her life to veterans affairs has died.

Mrs. Johnson, who was a World War II  U.S. Navy Veteran and later became a Gold Star Mother after her son, Edward Johnson, was Killed In Action in Vietnam in 1967, died on Monday, March 10 at her home following a brief illness. She was 90 years old.

“I’ve known Flo (Johnson) since 1976 and she was one of the warmest, funniest, kindest ladies I have ever met,” said Charlestown City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “She spent her whole life working for veterans and attended pretty much every veteran event imaginable here in Boston and across the U.S. She was one of the most active residents in Charlestown and I will miss her.”

Mrs. Johnson, or Flo as she was affectionately known in Charlestown, was born in Weare, New Hampshire on August 20, 1923, the daughter of the late Charles E. (Ineson) and Jessie (Dean) Ineson.

She grew up in Charlestown and attended Charlestown Schools. She graduated from Charlestown High School in 1942.

During World War II Mrs. Johnson enlisted in the U.S. Navy on

April 15, 1944 and served here at the Charlestown Navy Yard and in Washington DC. It was during this time that she met her husband, the late Lee E. Johnson.

Mrs. Johnson was discharged on September 26, 1945 with the rank of Seaman First Class and began a career in the Boston Public School system for over 10 years as a Teachers Aide at the Kent School in Charlestown.

In 1967, an event occurred that would change the course of Mrs. Johnson and her husband’s life forever.

On August 27, 1967 the Johnsons received word their son, Edward ‘Teddy’ Johnson, a U.S. Marine was killed in action in Quang Nam, South Vietnam during a rocket attack.

From that day forward, Mrs. Johnson became a vocal advocate for all Gold Star Mothers in the U.S. and supported many veterans organizations and veterans affairs throughout Massachusetts and the New England area.

In 2003, Florence was able to travel to the Republic of Vietnam along with her son Teddy’s platoon sergeant and actually visit the sight that her son was killed in action.

Florence was past President of The Massachusetts and Rhode Island Gold Star Mothers, member of Abraham Lincoln Post # 11 G.A.R. of Charlestown, Past Commander of American Legion Bunker Hill Post # 26 of Charlestown, Honor Society of Women Legion 20-4, Past President of The Charlestown Lions Club, Mayor of Charlestown from 1990 to 1991, first woman Chief Marshall of Bunker Hill Day Parade in 1986, member of The Old Charlestown Schoolgirls Association and honorary member of The Daughters of Isabella # 1 of Charlestown.

“Flo was living proof why hers is called the Greatest Generation. Flo’s indomitable spirit left those she met with a feeling that anything can be overcome with the right attitude,” said Charlestown State Representative Candidate Dan Ryan, a longtime Charlestown Resident and friend of Mrs. Johnson. “Her dedication as a Gold Star mother overshadowed her own service to this country as a veteran of WWII. Flo’s legacy lives on through her family and many friends not just in Charlestown but throughout the country.”