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Obituary: Ruby Kelley Johnson

Ruby Kelley Johnson, lifelong advocate for Newtown, dies at the age of 84.

Obituary: Ruby Kelley Johnson

Ruby Kelley Johnson, of Sandy Hook, loving wife and mother, devoted friend and lifelong advocate for Newtown, passed away Feb. 16, 2012, at Danbury Hospital, with her family by her side.

Born in Houston, Texas on Sept. 7, 1928, Ruby spent her youth in San Antonio, Texas. An accomplished equestrienne, Ruby won the New England Championship for Jumping in Freiberg, Maine.  Ruby’s love of travel took her to Egypt, Russia, and Europe as well as a cross-country trip with the family in a Winnebago to Yellowstone.

Ruby pursued her education with the tenacity that would become her trademark. She graduated from Texas Women’s College in 1949 with a double major in English and History, and earned her Ph.D. from New York University in Linguistics in 1966. Ruby became a leader in education. She served on several boards such as the Commission of English Language, published two texts and numerous articles, and was asked to demonstrate the effectiveness of Inductive Teaching in Linguistics before the National Council of English Teachers in Washington, DC.

It was Ruby’s passion for education and the potential that she saw in every individual that guided her to serve on Newtown’s Board of Education. During her tenure, Ruby advocated for: the building of Head O’ Meadow Elementary School, the addition of dinosaur fossil tracks that once roamed Connecticut to Sandy Hook Elementary School’s courtyard, the addition of Calculus and Computer Science to the high school curriculum, and the addition of a swimming pool to Newtown High School. She was instrumental in the formation of the Newtown High School girls’ soccer team in 1983.

A staunch advocate for those with disabilities, Ruby, was instrumental in the installation of telecoil hearing loops in Newtown’s Municipal Building, Newtown Middle School and High School.  Ruby helped establish The Friends of Fairfield Hills and served as a member of the Legislative Council. A visionary who saw the wisdom in strategic planning, she was a respected voice at numerous board and committee meetings.

Ruby is survived by her husband of 45 years, Kenneth H. Johnson, daughters Kelley T. Johnson of San Jose, California and Joan D. Johnson, son-in-law Edwin Kuo, and grandson, Alex Kuo of Pleasantville, New York.

The family will receive friends and family at Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main Street, Newtown, from 3 pm to 6 pm on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012. 

Memorial services will be held at the Newtown United Methodist Church, 92 Church Hill Road, Sandy Hook, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, at 11 am, with a reception following in the church’s lower-level meeting room.  In honor of Ruby’s public service, the memorial service will include “public participation.”  The family invites attendees to share a personal story of Ruby. 

In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions be made to the Ruby K. Johnson Memorial Scholarship, Newtown Scholarship Association Inc., PO Box 302, Newtown, CT 06470.

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