Helen E. Johnson
Helen E. Johnson, the daughter of Lafayette and Lena Brown Skaggs, was born May 12, 1916, in Onarga, Illinois. She moved to Urbana, Illinois at the age of 14. She attended Urbana Senior High School and graduated in 1934. Helen married John C. Johnson and reared 6 children.
In 1947, Mrs. Johnson began working at Tot Lot Nursery School, a summer program for children who were too young to participate in the public recreation programs, ranging in ages from 3 to 5 years. The nursery school was located at 605 N. 5th Street, Champaign. She served as playground supervisor until 1951, and was then named Acting Director. The following year, she was made Director. Tot Lot was sponsored by the Twin City Community Committee and the Society of Friends (Quakers).
In 1957, Church Women United sponsored Tot Lot, and the program moved to Salem Baptist Church during the summer of 1959. In 1962, Church Women United decided to sponsor another project, and Mrs. Johnson, wishing to continue her work with children, completed the Montessori Teachers Training in Chicago, and returned to teach at the Champaign Montessori School until 1969. She also served as Director for 1 ½ years. In 1969, Salem Pre-School was founded by Mrs. Johnson. She taught a Primary Sunday School Class and she served as Director of the Pre-School until ill-health forced her to become inactive in April 1976.
Additional activities include: organizing the Eight Betas Club in 1950, and serving as the 1st President; elected and served as President of Lawhead-Willard Elementary Schools P.T.A in 1952; served as an assistant Girl Scout Leader and Cub Scout Den Mother; served as President of the Citizens Cooperative Association. She also served as Treasurer of the Matrons Missionary Society of Salem Baptist Church and Secretary of the Esther Missionary Circle.
In 1959, she was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Frances Nelson Children's Home, which later was named the Community Home for Children. She served as Assistant Church Clerk at Salem from December 1, 1972 until March 1976. She was elected Vice President of the Urbana Letter Carrier's Auxiliary #230, January 8, 1972, and became a member of the Board of Directors of the Frances Nelson Health Center from February 28, 1973 until March 24, 1976. She served as Treasurer, a member of the Personnel Committee, Executive Committee, and Chairperson of the Medical Task Force Committee. Mrs. Johnson was a member of the East Central Illinois Association for the Young Child. In 1974, she organized the Champaign-Urbana Reunion Day.
Helen E. Johnson passed away on July 20, 1976.