- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2007

BALTIMORE (AP) — Judith C. Johnson, an environmentalist who was a leader in the fight to preserve Assateague Island, died Feb. 13 from stroke complications at a retirement community. She was 91.

Mrs. Johnson, who was born in Seattle, moved to Baltimore in 1953. Her love of Assateague — a wild barrier island that stretches for 37 miles between Ocean City, Md., and Chincoteague, Va. — began when she camped there during the 1960s with her son.

“We enjoyed the island because there was nothing there. However, there was a master plan that included a highway, developments and hotels,” said the son, Reid Colt Johnson of Los Angeles. “I told her that it would be a shame if that happened and that she should really try and do what she could to stop it. That was the beginning of her work.”

In 1970, Mrs. Johnson and five others founded the Committee to Preserve Assateague Island Inc., an organization that grew to more than 1,300 members.

She was its first chairman and later served as its president. It was headquartered in the basement of her home. Mrs. Johnson retired from the committee in 1995.

Mrs. Johnson worked for the Maryland Environmental Trust from 1977 until 1980.

“Judy was an amazing woman and a human dynamo. She could do the work of three paid people. She was an extraordinary mentor and had great organizational skills,” said Ajax Eastman, an environmental activist and committee member, and former longtime president of the Maryland Conservation Council.

Her husband, A. Reid Johnson, died in 1995, according to the Baltimore Sun.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Johnson is survived by two grandchildren, according to the Sun.

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