Etsuko “Happy” Johnson, 85

Etsuko “Happy” Johnson, age 85, went home to see Jesus, her Lord & Savior, in the early morning of Tuesday, January 2, 2024, while at home, surrounded by her family. Etsuko was born December 12, 1938, on the island of Amami O’Shima in Japan, to Genjiro Yamamoto & Matsu Machi. Being six years old at the end of World War II, most of Etsuko’s childhood included the difficulties of life in post-war Japan.

In 1960, Etsuko met a Marine stationed on Okinawa named Edward T. Johnson, Jr. They were married on May 22, 1963, on the same island where they met. Etsuko immigrated to the United States with Ed. She was a Marine wife for five years before they settled in Oak Ridge and she became a US citizen. Etsuko’s hand always had to be busy. She was an avid crocheter and an excellent cook, and she loved to entertain guests. She had a great sense of humor and was so kind. Etsuko never met a stranger, she loved everyone and was always quick to help anyone in need. She especially had a soft spot for children. Etsuko loved music and loved to dance. Anyone fortunate enough to have met Etsuko will never forget her. She will live on forever in the hearts of her friends & family.

Etsuko is survived by beloved husband of 60 years, Edward T. Johnson, Jr; children, Philip Johnson & wife, Regina, Mary Petersen & husband, Bill, and Diane Sams & husband, Donny; grandchildren, Britton Petersen and Carrie Henley & husband, Chris; and great-grandchildren, Gavin, and Garrett Henley.

The family wishes to extend special thanks to Amedisys Hospice for their availability and for making Etsuko’s last days comfortable, her nephrologist, Dr. Ritu Khanna, for helping her kidneys last so long, and her primary care physician, Dr. Jessica Ivy, for caring for Etsuko so many years. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at or to the American Kidney Fund at

The family will host a memorial service at 1 pm Saturday, January 20, 2024, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church located at 212 North Tulane Avenue in Oak Ridge. Online condolences may be left at

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