Obituary for Frances Johnson (Skinnins)
Frances A. Johnson, 89, who moved to Las Cruces in 1993 and spent numerous summers in Gray, Maine, passed peacefully from this earth on Jan. 29, 2018, to join her beloved husband. Fran, as she liked to be called, was born in Portland, Maine, to Harlow C. and Dorothy Sanborn Skillins. She graduated from Portland High School in 1946 and later attended Northwestern Business College. Mrs. Johnson worked as a secretary, at Burnham and Morrill in Portland, until her marriage, in 1948, to Nathan Hunt Johnson of South Portland.
They lived in Boston, Mass, Guilford, Maine and Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Mrs. Johnson was a member of the Women’s Literary Union in Portland, and was very active in the service sorority, Beta Sigma Phi, from 1953 to 1961.
She served several terms as president of the Biddeford-Saco Chapter and was first president of the Xi Omicron Exemplar chapter. In 1961, the family moved to Kent , Connecticut, where Mr. Johnson taught Mathematics and coached soccer and crew at Kent School. Mrs. Johnson was active as a Girl Scout leader and later as Troop Committee Chairman for all Girl Scout troops in Kent. In the fall of 1966, she started working in the College Guidance and Placement Office at Kent School, and worked there for 22 years, retiring in 1988. While living in Kent, she was an active member of the First Congregational Church, serving as Superintendent of the Church School, Chairman of the Religious Education Committee, as a Deaconess, and several terms as top layman of the church. She was also active in the Republican Town Committee.
During that time at Kent, she also taught courses in Red Cross Advanced Lifesaving , Advanced Swimming and Water Safety. Upon retirement in 1988, she and her husband returned to Maine, settling in their summer home on Little Sebago Lake in Gray. In 1993, she and her husband moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, residing there in the winter and at Little Sebago during the summer. Later, after her husband died and due to physical limitations, she moved to the Village at Northrise and, in 2016, to the Heritage House, which she called home until she died. In Las Cruces, Mrs. Johnson was active in the Dona Ana County Federated Republican Women, including serving as its president, and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. She also founded a chapter of the Red Hat Society called the Jalapeno Hotties, (she named it that because she always wanted to be a “hottie”) and served as its Queen Mum. She was also a member of the Silver Lining Service Club of Las Cruces. In her leisure time , Fran enjoyed reading, sewing, swimming, hooking rugs, doing puzzles, and her favorite pastime: playing games. Hence, her favorite saying: “Just one more game!”
Mrs. Johnson had three children; her oldest son, Steven Alan Johnson, passed away in 1985. Other family members who predeceased her are: her mother Dorothy; her father Harlow Skillins; her husband Nathan of 53 years; and her stepmother Christine Skillins. Surviving are a daughter, Dale Ellen Thurber and her husband, Jerry Thurber, of Yakima, WA; and her son, Scott D. Johnson and his wife, Christine, of Summit, NJ; two grandchildren, Melanie Hocking of Las Cruces, NM, and Spenser Kornet of San Diego, CA., and her sister Jean Rhodes and her husband, Don, of Las Cruces, NM.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, February 3 at the First Presbyterian Church of Las Cruces. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to First Presbyterian Church, 200 E. Boutz Rd., Las Cruces, NM, 88005, or to the Scholarship Program, Kent School, P. O; Box 2006, Kent, Connecticut 06757.