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Mom used skills to benefit church, civic groups

| Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Bonnie Jean (Lisle) Johnson, 87, of Murrysville, died Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
Bonnie Jean (Lisle) Johnson, 87, of Murrysville, died Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

Linda Lisle-Kelly was heartbroken when, at age 5, an illness prevented her from attending her aunt's wedding in East Liberty Presbyterian Church.

Aunt Jean knew that, so she visited the girl after the reception while still wearing her wedding dress and gave her niece her bouquet, Lisle-Kelly said.

The wedding took place in 1955, but the memory of her aunt's actions is still fresh in Lisle-Kelly's mind. “That's how gracious she was,” said Lisle-Kelly of Tucson.

Bonnie Jean Johnson died of heart failure Tuesday, May 7, 2013, in Redstone Highlands, a senior living community in Murrysville. She was 87.

Mrs. Johnson was a reserved but friendly woman who was devoted to her family and church, her relatives said.

“She spent much of her life looking out after my father, myself and my brother,” said her son, Kenneth Johnson of Malibu, Calif.

Born in St. Joseph, Mo., to Oscar and Elsie Dahnke Lisle, Mrs. Johnson moved to Pittsburgh with her family in the 1930s, Kenneth Johnson said.

She graduated from the former Peabody High School in East Liberty in 1943 and from the former Margaret Morrison Carnegie College in the Carnegie Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in secretarial studies in 1947.

Miss Lisle and Edwin Johnson married in 1955. Mrs. Johnson was president of the Murrysville Women's Club and board member and secretary of the Murrysville Swimming Club. She was on the building committee that oversaw the 1969 construction of the sanctuary building for First Presbyterian Church in Murrysville, her son said.

“She had an interest in the well-being of the church … and the presentation that we tried to offer,” said the church's pastor, the Rev. John “Chuck” MacPherson.

Lisle-Kelly remembers her aunt as a throwback to the days of elegant women who were “proper” in their speech, manners and dress.

“To me, she typified that generation of women (from) the '40s and '50s — very strong,” Lisle-Kelly said.

In addition to her son, Kenneth, she is survived by another son, Paul Johnson of Oakland, and two grandchildren.

Mrs. Johnson was preceded in death by her husband and her brother, Robert Lisle.

A funeral service will take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Hart Funeral Home, 3103 Lillian Ave., Murrysville. Interment will follow in Murrysville Cemetery.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or

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