Lynn Marie Johnson was a ray of sunshine around the Art Spark Texas offices. She never met a stranger, and was always positive and encouraging to her volunteers and everyone else who happened her way. She loved her stories, and always had one at the ready for any situation we would encounter during our busy and diverse daily schedule. To say she will be missed is an understatement. As we look toward the future, we know that she cannot be replaced. We can only hold her memory dear to our hearts, and think of her mischievous ways when the journey gets tough. We will always have a careful eye out for the random squirt gun or rubber band missile attack. Please join us on Monday, March 4th, 2019 from 5:30-8:00 pm at ZACH Topfer Theater Lobby (202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704) for a celebration of her life. Read Lynn’s obituary here.
When we were interviewing people for Lynn’s job, I remember saying, “Let’s hire Lynn. We need a mom around this place.” Turned out Lynn was no mom. She was the fun Aunt! Lynn and I shared an office for most of the 12 years she worked at Art Spark Texas. So I knew when she started cursing, it was time for the monthly E-News. Constant Contact was always giving her trouble. When she would get quiet, she was doing what she called her “bean counter” duties, collecting statistics. If you ever asked her to make coffee (only because she was the best one at making coffee) she glared at you and reminded us she was not our secretary. Lynn was always talking, whether I was listening or not. Sometimes I could slip off to the bathroom and back and she would never know. Lynn had the best stories. And even though they annoyed me sometimes because I was trying to concentrate on my work, that will be what I miss most about Lynn. It is already so quiet around here without her.
Lynn was a good friend to everyone she met. So many people have been reaching out to us since she has been gone and tell us what a shining light of love she was. It’s true. Lynn valued her friends so much. My favorite thing was when she was on the phone with any of her friends or when she called me, near the end of the call she would say, “OK Sweetie, I gotta go” and then talk for 20 more minutes. I love that she called us all “Sweetie” and that she always had time for everyone.
It’s hard for me to pinpoint a favorite memory of Lynn because my last seven years with Art Spark Texas are something of a blur, like when people describe moments where your whole life flashes before your eyes. You see snapshot images of all the important people in your life – amid smiles and laughter, tears and consolation, through celebratory peaks and valleys of despair. Art Spark Texas is a small, close-knit family of people who are committed to the cause of making the arts accessible for all, and losing Lynn is losing an integral part of that family. She was the first one you saw when you arrived at work, the first to answer the phone in her cheery voice. She was always up for a goofy staff photo, though she might have rolled her eyes first. She was a great listener and storyteller with no shortage of material – she could describe a lunch run to Central Market as though it was a brutal tour in Vietnam. Our office was not averse to a little playful teasing from time to time, and Lynn could be a fiery opponent; and if you got the best of her, she would give you a look that made you feel otherwise. More than all else, she always seemed to have time and a willingness to help, to go the extra mile, to be your friend when you needed one, and it is this kindness, generosity, and dedication that I will remember most about Lynn.
Oh, there are so many memories of Lynn it is hard to choose just one. Perhaps her journey to Taos following Siri’s directions that led her into the canyon of the Rio Grande. It was a wild ride from the way she told it. Driving in her little Honda along a dirt track, down a steep cliff, with no way to turn around. Ah Lynn. She did love her adventures. Lynn was a loyal employee who became a dear friend. She helped me see myself through a different lens when I would get too involved with a problem, or overly fraught. She was a friend to everyone she met.
My favorite memory of Lynn was her infectious sense of humor! In the short time that I knew Lynn, she taught me how important it is to stay connected with your community. The best advice I heard Lynn give was “tackle the little things before they become big things.” We miss her dearly.
If you knew Lynn, we would love to hear your stories and memories; please share with us on our Stories of Lynn Marie Johnson Google Form.