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Local Community Will Never Feel The Same, Long-time Librarian Evelyn Johnson Passes Away Monday

Evelyn Johnson stands in front of the Watauga County Public Library, where she worked for more than 36 years.
Evelyn Johnson stands in front of the Watauga County Public Library, where she worked for more than 36 years.

By Jesse Wood

Jan. 14, 2013. She loved the color purple. She loved pets and animals, particularly wolves, which decorated her office and home. She loved to wear long dresses and Birkenstocks. She loved sunflowers. She loved the mountains – and the beach. She loved the Tar Heels and the Mountaineers. She loved pizza. She loved to take walks in downtown Boone on her lunch break. She loved laying out in the sun, and she loved books. 

But most importantly, as her two sons – Seth and Caleb – pointed out on Monday afternoon, Evelyn Johnson, the longtime librarian in Watauga County, was a devout Christian who loved the Lord and her family, one who always made sure other people were taking care of before she was.

“She was a very strong-willed person, and she was an amazing mom,” Seth Johnson, 25, said. “She raised her boys in a very good Christian home, and we loved her for that.”

Johnson passed away Monday afternoon in Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center at 2:31 p.m. She had a heart attack on Thursday and had been on life support since Friday. She was 54 and an organ donor. 

“She’s not here, and she’s still trying to help,” Caleb Johnson, 19, said.

Johnson loved going to the beach for vacation.
Johnson loved going to the beach for vacation.

A native of the High Country, Johnson was born and raised on a farm in Foscoe, where she still resided until her passing. Johnson graduated from Watauga High School and ASU and had been an active member of Watauga Baptist Church her entire life.

For more than 36 years, she worked as a librarian at the Watauga County Public Library up until the day of her sudden heart attack.

In 1977, she participated in a two-month summer internship at the library and never left. As of last week, she was the adult services librarian. 

The outpouring of support for The Johnson Family has been evident when word of Evelyn’s condition was spread on Facebook.

One person wrote, “Such a beautiful lady with such passion for her family and job.”

Another added, “So so said. What a loss to our community.” 

With so many years at the library, she became a local icon, nurturing the love of books to generations of readers. 

“Whenever I think of the library, I think of Ms. Evelyn,” a third person wrote. “I cannot separate the 2 in my memories. Thanks for helping to nurture my love of books as a child and helping to pass that on to my children. Nice legacy.”

 A celebration of Evelyn’s life will be conducted Thursday, Jan. 17, at 2:00 p.m. at Watauga Baptist Church. The body will lie in state, at the church from 1 to 2 p.m. Officiating will be Reverend R.D. Watson, Reverend Derick Wilson and Pastor Gordon Noble. Burial will follow in Watauga Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Wednesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m at Watauga Baptist Church. At other times, friends may call at the home of her brother, David and Lucy Shook, 314 Park Road, Banner Elk.

Flowers are appreciated, or memorial contributions may be made to family, in care of David Shook, 314 Park Road, Banner Elk, North Carolina, 28604.

Online condolences may be sent to the Johnson family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com.