Friday, January 05, 2007

Becky Johnson - one of a kind

Becky Johnson died this week at the age of 93. She was one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. I only wish I had the chance to know her better. As it happened, I never met her in person, but had several extensive phone conversations with her.

One day I was working in my office, and my phone rang. "Rob, this is Becky Johnson," a very firm, but clearly elderly voice informed me. She explained that she was a trustee at Lewis & Clark College, and she wanted to talk to me about my recent column in BrainstormNW Magazine in which I took to task the dean of Lewis & Clark's graduate school of education.

I first thought "Uh-oh, she's gunna let me have it," but she went on to explain that she had been complaining for years about precisely the same thing I wrote about. She had already taken my column, copied it, and distributed it to the other trustees and the management of the college.

We were on the phone for at least an hour and a half in that first conversation. We talked about education, the environment, local politics, the legislature and a bunch of other topics. It was incredible how much she knew about what was going on and how clear her thinking was - but what intrigued me most was the combination of her extensive knowledge coupled with her 90+ years of experience. It gave her a perspective on things more sophisticated than I can relate.

She was clearly a highly intelligent woman, and was blessed with a huge surplus of common sense. Her mind was incredibly sharp, even in her 90's.

Becky is the mother of State Senator Betsy Johnson, and it is easy to see where Betsy's common sense came from.

The world needs more Becky Johnsons. I wish I knew her better, but I am thankful for the time I did have to get to know her.

2 comments:

Thomas said...

I read the obituaries of Becky Johnson. Sounds like a plucky old gal. Why is her daughter a De,ocrat?

RINO WATCH said...

RK,

Senator Betsy is probably the most decent, polite, common sense laden, politician we've had in Oregon. A real Gem.

Nice post!

RW