Jeannette Johnson of Edgartown died on March 21 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital following a short illness. She was 92.
She was born Jeannette Marcelle Ferrero in the Bronx, N.Y., on December 28, 1920, to Charles Theodore Ferrero and Jeanne Bourgeot Ferrero. The family soon moved to Jackson Heights, N.Y., and later to Elmhurst, N.Y. Upon graduation from Julia Richman High School in Manhattan, her first job was demonstrating Western Union Telegraph equipment at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. During the 1940s she held several secretarial jobs in New York City and in her spare time participated in an acting group, the Players’ Guild of Manhattan. She married Alfred M. Johnson in 1952. They moved to Kew Gardens, N.Y., where their daughter was born.
Jeannette was an excellent seamstress and in the 1960s made many articles of clothing for herself and her daughter, as well as beautiful outfits for her daughter’s dolls. She was also a wonderful cook.
From 1965 to 1985 Jeannette was an Administrative Assistant at Borough of Manhattan Community College.
The Johnsons first visited Martha’s Vineyard in 1962, as a side trip to a Cape Cod vacation. They decided they preferred the Vineyard to the Cape and spent their vacations on the Island beginning in 1966. In 1985 they moved to Edgartown permanently. Alfred died in 1994.
In 1996 at age 75, Jeannette took her first trip to Europe, spending a week in Athens. She found that she really enjoyed traveling and over the next 16 years made at least 25 trips to Europe, including some with Kerry Alley’s Island travel group. Her favorite destination was France, especially Paris, where her mother was born. Italy was a close second, although she never did get to visit the Piedmont region where her father hailed from. Other cities she especially enjoyed were Prague, Salzburg, and Amsterdam. She preferred trips where she could get to know one or two cities in depth over those that tried to cram as many stops as possible into the itinerary. She often mentioned how grateful she was to have had the chance to visit so many interesting places.
She was particularly excited last year to visit the Maison Fournaise, a restaurant in Chatou near Paris which was depicted in the Renoir painting “Luncheon of the Boating Party.” Jeannette gave a presentation on her Chatou visit to Nancy Lotz’s discussion group at the Anchors. She was planning to visit Russia this year, and next year wanted to visit Neauphle-le-Chateau, a Paris suburb where her favorite actress, Deanna Durbin, has lived since retiring from her screen career over 60 years ago.
Jeannette was a member and past Secretary of the Woman’s Club of Martha’s Vineyard. She was a longtime volunteer at the Anchors and at the Old Whaling Church’s Community Suppers.
Jeannette made frequent visits to New York City where she enjoyed spending time with her daughter, checking out the latest museum exhibits and having lunch at her favorite restaurant, Café Sabarsky. She enjoyed movies and Broadway shows and was a lifelong ballet fan.
Jeannette was predeceased by her parents, her sister, Catherine F. Noble and her brother, Charles Ferrero. She is survived by her daughter Jeannette of Kew Gardens, N.Y.; nieces Linda Hamill, and her husband, David, of Otis, and Kathy Barbieri and her husband, Tony, of Great Barrington; grandniece Kristine Emprimo and her husband, Matt, and grandnephew Dan Hamill. She also leaves many friends on the Vineyard.
Memorial contributions in Jeanette’s name may be sent to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1748, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 (508-693-0189) or The Supportive Day Program at the Edgartown Council on Aging (The Anchors), P.O. Box 760, Edgartown, MA 02539 (508-627-4368).