Cover photo for Olivia M. Johnson's Obituary
Olivia M. Johnson Profile Photo

Olivia M. Johnson

d. April 27, 2022

Olivia Marie Johnson, 67, of Inkster, MI passed away April 27, 2022.

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Olivia Marie Parnell was born on July 6, 1954 in Ypsilanti, Michigan to Marie Chisholm Parnell and Johnnie B. Parnell. As a child, she was involved in numerous civic and church activities, including Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and a jazz dance troop where Olivia was the only Black student. From these early experiences and as a member of the Powers Street Pack, Olivia gained a passion for music, crafting, teaching, and learning.

Academically, Olivia always excelled – earning numerous awards in elementary, middle and high school.  Her teachers and classmates recognized her intellectual sharpness and referred to her as “one of the smartest people” they knew.  Olivia took great pride in being an Inkster High School Viking and participated in several school groups like the Student Council and Fashion Club.  Her love for music thrived as a French horn instrumentalist in the marching band and orchestra.  One day while carrying the French horn home, one of her schoolmates asked if he could carry it for her.  She allowed him to, thus beginning the love story of George and Olivia, or Sonny and Liver, as their friends called them.  For some of their school dances and their senior prom, Olivia would design their matching outfits and create one-of-a-kind pieces using her masterful skills as a seamstress.  She graduated with honors from Inkster High School in 1972, studied at Eastern Michigan University and William Tyndale College, and was united in holy matrimony with George on August 25, 1973.

To their union four beautiful children were born – Camilyah, George Jr., Jason, and Jocelyn.  Olivia served diligently as a working mother and dedicated wife. As a professional bindery machine operator for over 25 years, Olivia operated equipment such as printing presses, drills, collators, cutters, and shrink wraps.  Her skills and expertise in printing technology enabled her to be instrumental in the manufacturing of college textbooks, magazines, booklets, posters, calendars and much more. Along with an accomplished career in the printing industry, Olivia took great pride in creating a Christ-centered home full of love, support, education, and fun.  Olivia was fully engaged in the lives of her immediate and extended family. She found the time to transport children to practices and events, attend conferences and meetings, build school floats for parades, organize games at family reunions, maintain a vegetable garden, and make crafts for celebrations. She was always full of creative ideas and was willing to put the time and effort into making her ideas come to life.

Over the years Olivia was a member of First Missionary Baptist Church, Pentecostal Temple COGIC, Greater Emmanuel Institutional COGIC, New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, and most recently Angie Ray Ministries as an online worshiper.  As a church member, Olivia was a faithful tither, Sunday School and VBS teacher, Purity Class and Y.P.W.W. advisor, children’s church leader, prayer warrior, and Bible study scholar. From 2004 to 2007 she was on the ministerial staff at Greater Emmanuel.  She loved listening to praise and worship music, and learning, teaching, and sharing the Word of God. Although she had many, her most recent favorite Bible verse was Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Having a quality education was important to Olivia. Not only did she ensure that all of her children had successful college and military careers, she went back to school to earn an Associate’s degree in Office Information Specialist at Wayne County Community College District. She served as an office support for Matrix Human Services, Salvation Army, YMCA, and Maplewood Community Center until she became the primary caregiver for her youngest daughter Jocelyn for the past fourteen consecutive years.  Olivia took seriously her role as nurse, advocate, teacher, and friend to Jocelyn, learning and doing all she could to make her feel safe, loved, and comfortable.

Her inquisitive, independent, strong, industrious, innovative, humorous, and witty personality will live on in the people who cherish her memory. Her children: Camilyah (Thomas), George Jr. (Denise), Jason (Brandale), and Jocelyn.  Her grandchildren: Torri, Johann, Malaya, Mahari, Nicholas, and Nathaniel.  Her siblings: John (Joyce), Clairessa, and LaTasha. Her in-laws: Ira (Ruby), Anna, Glenda, Daniel (Michelle), Louise, Ella Mae, Wallace, Chrissha (Kenric), and Gary (Amitra).  Olivia was preceded in death by her brother Dennis, her husband Rev. George E. Johnson Sr., her mother Marie Parnell, her father Johnnie Parnell, and her parents-in-law Rev. & Mrs. Hardy Johnson Sr.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Olivia M. Johnson, please visit our flower store.

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