Sister Johnson, former Catholic Charities social worker, dies at 82

SINSINAWA, Wis. — Sister Elaine Johnson, OP (Malcolm), a former social worker for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Charleston, died at St. Dominic Villa Oct. 21. The funeral Mass was celebrated in Queen of the Rosary Chapel Oct. 24. Burial was in the motherhouse cemetery.

Sister Johnson was born May 21, 1923, in Chicago, the daughter of Walter and Helen (Burns) Johnson. She made her first religious profession as a Sinsinawa Dominican Aug. 5, 1949, and her final profession Aug. 5, 1952.

She was an elementary school teacher for 13 years, a high school English teacher for 7 years, a high school principal for three years, and a social worker for 20 years. In addition to South Carolina, Sister Johnson served in Minnesota, Illinois, South Dakota, Nebraska, Texas and Wisconsin. She lived in community in Fort Myers, Fla.; Charleston, S.C.; and at the motherhouse and St. Dominic Villa in Sinsinawa.

In the Diocese of Charleston, Sister Johnson ministered as a social worker at Catholic Charities in Columbia from 1972-1983, and at Catholic Charities in Charleston from 1983-1992.

She is survived by her sister, Ardelle Smolzer of McHenry, Ill.; a niece, Mary Kittl; and her Dominican sisters, with whom she shared life for 56 years. Memorials may be made to the Sinsinawa Dominicans, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, WI, 53824-9701. To make a memorial online, go to