BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Ilene Smith Johnson of Bakersfield, Calif., formerly of Princeton, was suddenly called home to Jesus on Thursday, April 6, 2017, following a lengthy battle with dementia.
Ilene was born in the tiny town of St. Augustine to Claude and Violet Smith on Oct. 27, 1924. From her earliest days in the Depression era, her church and faith greatly impacted her life. As a little child, First Christian Church members provided food for the hungry family. Later her church family found her housing and a job so that she could finish high school in Avon. She then moved to Chicago, where she worked as a bookkeeper and attended night classes at Northwestern University and joined Phi Sigma Nu professional business sorority.
It was in Chicago where she met her former husband, Calvin Johnson. They adopted two children and moved to Princeton in 1967. She made many dear friends through the First Baptist Church, various bridge clubs, Fortnightly and the Bureau Valley Country Club. She loved working with the senior citizens at the Bureau County Housing Authority's High Rise, where she retired after many years of service.
Ilene is survived by her beloved sister, Helen Collura; her daughter, Kerrie Johnson; and many nieces, nephews, great- and great-great-nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her son, Kevin Johnson; her former husband, Calvin Johnson; her parents, Claude and Violet Smith; and her brother and sisters, Harold Smith, Evelyn Young and Ruth Stocco.
A memorial service will be held by St. Luke's Anglican Church in the Garden Chapel at Hillcrest 7th Day Adventist (2600 Kenwood Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93306) at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 18, with Fr. Jack A. Estes officiating.
Throughout her life Ilene's faith and her love of animals remained strong, even when dementia claimed almost every other ability. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be given in Ilene's memory to your favorite Christian or pet-rescue charity.