Anamarie Johnson, 86, of North Little Rock, formerly of Conway, ascended to her savior Sunday morning May 27, 2012. Born Wednesday, July 29, 1925, at Yazoo City, Mississippi to Marvin Dixon and Grace Samuelson Johnson.
Anamarie was a very proud Arkansan & Razorbacks fan. She followed the path of her parents Marvin, Grace & older brother Marvin Dixon Jr. all as the first university graduates of their families, from the University of Arkansas. Marvin Sr. was the first to graduate from the U of A, after recovering from wounds from WWI and was the first to graduate in the state of Arkansas with a Vocational, Agricultural and Livestock Degree & was the first Arkansas Public School Teacher in this field. Her mother Grace graduated from the U of A with an Education degree specializing in Literature and British Literature and was the first Arkansas Postmistress at Searcy, which inspired Anamarie to pursue her career in education at the U of A, where her brother Marvin Jr. attended and played football until WW II.
Anamarie grew up throughout Arkansas, as her parents taught school in Northwest & Central Arkansas during the depression era. Anamarie was an honors student at: Waldon Jr. High Class of 1939, Gillam High School Class of 43, University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts Degree Class of 47, University of Illinois with a Master of Science class of 52, she pursued her Doctorate at the New York’s prestigious University of Buffalo Graduate School in 1953 where upon she was recruited by the Norfolk, Virginia Library & Public School Systems for employment.
Anamarie was employed as Assistant Librarian at Morrilton, Arkansas Public Library in 1947 where she established the first Mobile Bookmobile Library for local & rural service as the first of its kind in the U.S. She relocated to Blytheville, AR to teach in the Public School System as a means to save money to finance her University of Illinois & Buffalo further education degrees.
Anamarie was awarded the Gold Medal for Arkansas Outstanding English and Literature Student at Gillham High School in 1943 and was the Valedictorian of her Gillham Sr. Class. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Virginia, the Norfolk & Virginia Historical Societies where she served as President, as well as the Norfolk Women’s Club also serving as President along with other community & charitable organizations.
Anamarie was the Norfolk Libraries of Science Administrator, she was very well known for her dramatic recital of Book Reading & Poetry of Adult & Children’s Literature and could recite many completely by memory including Dr. Seuss, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Mother Goose & the Bumper Book for Children as well as the King James Bible.
She originated and conducted the Norfolk Story Telling Hour weekly for children which was often broadcast by local radio & TV affiliates of the time. She was most famously and affectionately known as the "Hurricane Lady" per her story telling of intense dramatic passion for children during Hurricane Shelter Storm Protection Centers to calm her children — they’re favorite was her rendition of Dr. Seuss’ "Horton the Elephant." She was recognized & awarded Citations of Recognition for her children’s & community work & efforts from Norfolk City Government & other organizations and was a silent contributing patron for many of need.
Anamarie instituted the Norfolk Bookmobile for out of area & rural service as she had in Morriliton, Arkansas which became the model for the Nation & European Versions & was recognized by the Mayors of Norfolk, Governor of Virginia, National Library — Public Schools Association and the Congressional Education Oversight Committee of Washington DC.
Anamarie loved to write poetry, short stories, novelettes & novels — she wrote personal stories for her vast & varied children audiences. She cherished music of the her day, but her choice of music was religious, and she was an astute scholar of classical music. She sang her favorite songs from memory, epically Christmas carols, her first love.
Anamarie retired form Norfolk Public School & Library Systems in 1968 and returned to Conway, AR and reinstituted her membership in the Easter Star Palmetto Chapter # 47 serving as Worthy Matron during her tenure here. Anamarie was was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Conway joining the United Methodist W omens’ Club and was a very active member of and for both and was also an avid supporter of the Conway Public Library.
As Annmarie’s health declined she relocated to North Little Rock, Arkansas in 2003 to be with her many area family members where she joined the Amboy Methodist Church & its United Methodist Women’s Club as well as the Eastern Star Jewel Chapter #362. She was immediately recognized for her photographic memory of the Bible and her ability to recite biblical passages line by line in her dramatic enactment and her interpretation of their meaning.
Anamarie was devout in her love for Children, her Family & Religion — she especially loved Christmas & all her nieces & nephews whom welcomed her at Adams Field Airport arrivals from Northfork, Virginia, yearly in anticipation of her wonderful Christmas Storytellings & colorful Christmas one-of-a-kind packaging as she never forgot anyone and was the leader of family togetherness, activities & spirit. She was an avid traveler of the USA & its’ many historic sites on her own and the many family reunions she lived for to attend.
Anamarie was preceded in death by her parents, Marvin D., Grace; brothers, Marvin Johnson Jr. of Conway and Walter Johnson of Corsicana, Texas; and sister, Betty Haynie of Little Rock, AR. She is survived by her sisters, Idalee Lyons of NLR, AR, Estelle Summers of Cheyenne, WY, Dorothy Heskett of Fresno, CA, Carolyn Heffington of Willis, Texas & Mary Johnson of Corsicana, Texas, 19 nieces & nephews, a host of great & great-great nieces and nephews (she knew all their names and loved all equally) and her family of friends at Northridge Healthcare. Anamarie held a special love for her brothers-in-law, who preceded her in death, and fondly quoted "Those were her brothers she received the easy way," Tom Heffington, Thomas (Buddy) Lyons, Carl Summers, Phil Heskett and Jerry Haynie. She was also preceded in death by her sister-in-law she considered her sister Ann Johnson wife of Marvin Jr. of Conway.
Anamarie was a Hurricane of activity in Life in her many pursuits of life’s ways and will be remembered by her family & all for her devout love of children, family, her Razorbacks, deep religious belief, her Methodist and Eastern Star Families of Fellowship & their purpose and most of all her beloved nieces & nephews as well as of All her Love for All — "All of us whom knew & were touched by her will miss her".
Anamarie fought many health adversities over the years but had a strong will to survive, be a part of this world and to be here for her family — "She has gone to her final greatest story adventure to be told and is smiling down upon all of us now" — Rest In Peace Anamarie — We Love You To.
In Anamarie’s last days she knew it was near the end, she wished for all her friends, family, the Methodist Church and Eastern Star in Conway and elsewhere over the years who helped and supported her during her trying times and health issues she was forever grateful to all of you and she was sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused within your lives. She thanked you for continuing to believe in her in those times of need and all of your help and kindness to her. She wished for everyone to be as proud of her as she was of all of you and wanted you to know "She loves all of You".
Services were at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, 2012, at Roller-McNutt Chapel in Conway, 501-327-7727, with interment to follow at Crestlawn Memorial Park. Visitation was from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, at the funeral home.
Online guestbook: www.rollerfuneralhomes.com.