Retired Commissioner Dead

‘A Pioneer,’



New Oklahoma County Commissioner Willa Johnson speaks to well-wishers whereas holding her grandsons Miles Givens, 3, and Mason Givens, 5, throughout a morning swearing-in ceremony on the Oklahoma County Workplace constructing in Oklahoma Metropolis, Okla., Monday, September 17, 2007. Picture by Paul Hellstern / The Oklahoman. ORG XMIT: KOD

Retired Oklahoma County Commissioner Willa Johnson, (Dem., District 1), 83, died in her sleep Thursday night time.

County Commissioner introduced 4 years in the past that she wouldn’t search one other time period.

She was solely the second Black to win the District 1 place.

Earlier than she ran for county commissioner she had been the primary Black girl to serve on the Metropolis Council, was reelected plenty of instances and was universally applauded as among the many most profitable of members of the Metropolis Council.

After a 20-year profession at Tinker U.S. Air Pressure Base, Mrs. Johnson to the Metropolis Council in 1993 and served till 2007.

She then was elected a county commissioner and was reelected and served till 2017.

“We’ve misplaced an important champion and a profoundly nice public servant,” Russell M. Perry, writer of The Black Chronicle, a private buddy of Mrs. Johnson and a fellow alumni of Douglass Excessive Faculty.

Mr. Perry and Commissioner Johnson had been in the identical graduating class at Douglass Excessive.

“She was the final word public servant and the northeast quadrant’s most level-headed champions, whose dedication was not solely to Ward 7, however to the entire Oklahoma Metropolis group,” Mr. Perry mentioned.

He mentioned that view of her was evidenced by her “constant help of MAPS 1, 2 and three, and even MAPS 4, which was handed after she had gone on to turn out to be a county commissioner.”

Sure, we’ve misplaced one,” Mr. Perry commented.

“She was amongst those that guided the rebuilding of Douglass Excessive and was amongst those that supplied management that resulted within the reopening of the James E. Stewart Golf Course,” he continued.

For years, she pushed for a brand new recreation heart at Douglass Park, Mr. Perry identified.

That new heart is about to open later this 12 months and shall be named for Commissioner Johnson, Mr. Perry identified.

She additionally based First Tee of Metropolitan Oklahoma Metropolis, acquired an honorary doctorate diploma from Oklahoma Metropolis College and was a longtime member of the St. John Missionary Baptist Church, Mr. Perry famous.

Councilwoman Johnson was the catalyst for a lot of developments in northeast Oklahoma Metropolis” Mr. Perry continued, saying that she oftentimes referred to her ward as “the , referring to her ward as “Seventh Heaven.”

“As a metropolis councilwoman, she efficiently secured bond cash to rebuild NE 23rd Avenue between Broadway and Interstate 35,” he mentioned, noting that that space, ceaselessly known as the NE 23rd Enterprise Hall, had been uncared for for many years.

She efficiently secured bond cash to rebuild NE 23 between Broadway and Interstate 35, a hall uncared for for many years. 

“Due to Willa Johnson, the makeover as we speak contains new sidewalks, vintage-style avenue lighting and resurfacing,” he famous.

“She was a pioneer, a trailblazer and a pacesetter,” Rev. Main L. Jemison mentioned.  “She pursued excellence with out excuse … Her life will stay a beacon of inspiration for generations to come back.”

Rev. Jemison is pastor of St. John Baptist.

“Willa Johnson was buddy, who will miss the opening of the recreation heart to be named for her,” Horace Stevenson, the retired restaurant businessman, who was additionally a member of her Douglass Excessive graduating class

The Willa D. Johnson Recreation Middle at Douglass Park will open later this 12 months.

“We’ll miss her after we open it,” Mr. Stevenson mentioned, “however she’ll be there in spirit.”

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