Reflection on Connie Johnson

Sometimes we don’t always see the beauty of an individual rose, but I would like to take a moment to focus a little bit about a very beautiful rose, Connie Johnson, who graced the Marquette University Law School for over 33 years.  Connie passed away on Friday, October 12 at the age of 82 years.

Connie was a loose-leaf filer for all the time that I worked with her.  Not only did she keep the loose-leaf materials in good order, but she did so in the best possible way she could.  Additionally, she developed a means for filing recently released Wisconsin Senate and Assembly materials that the library received, and she developed the process for maintaining the replaced pages for the Wisconsin Administrative Code.

She worked with many students and staff, explaining the intricacies of loose-leaf filing and advocating for the disabled in the law library.  Among her accomplishments, she authored the book, Filer’s Guide for Loose-Leaf Services in a Law Library (Z 675 .L2 J65 1979).

While some may have viewed Connie as having a gruff exterior, much of that was due to her disabilities, which she neither hid nor flaunted.  She was outspoken when it came to care for people who had disabilities, and was quick to explain the practical nature of helping people.

She taught me little things, such as listening to what a disabled person needs before assuming to know how to help, or being willing to offer help with tightening someone’s metal cane if it is loose.

Connie lived on the Marquette campus almost the entire time that I knew her.  If she was not in the law school, she could frequently be seen walking with her walker around the campus.  Anyone who knew her knew that she was a fixture at Marquette.  She loved Marquette and she loved the students, faculty and staff with whom she worked.  During the last few years of her life she was confined to a skilled nursing facility, but still she made it to the Law School for our most recent Christmas dinner, a wonderful memory.

More important, though, Connie knew her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for her so that she could have the certain hope of being with Him in heaven.

In very many ways, we, the Law School and the University were her family, and she will be missed by very many people.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Steve Nelson

    Jim – thanks for posting this. I have two distinct memories of Connie. The first is the role she had in the lives of the student employees she supervised. Many of these students were not native to Milwaukee or the United States. I would run into Connie with her students (and families) at the zoo, museum, or just out for a walk in Milwaukee. I learned it was not uncommon for Connie to host her students and their families to dinner at her apartment. The other memory is close relationship she maintained with Revisor of Statutes Bureau and the State Historical Society. The library here has a well-earned reputation for both the collection depth and staff expertise of Wisconsin primary materials. Connie played a significant part nurturing the collection and the staff. The funeral Mass will be this Friday, October 26, at 9 a.m. in Gesu Church.

  2. Angelina Joseph

    If you knew Connie well, you would have realized that the grumpy, cranky, quick-tempered nature of her was just a facade she put on to avoid questions about herself. I didn’t know Connie well until she left the law school. She was a private person. She never lost her sense of humor and quick-wittedness even when she was forgetting simple things in life. I took my grandchild a few times to her nursing home. Connie told her stories, got story books for her. Sophia is sad that Ms. Connie is gone.

    She loved this law school a lot. A few months back, she commented that she would like to be invited for this year’s Christmas party too. She wanted to see the folks who she associated with while she was here.

    Connie was a very organized and tidy person. Her room was always kept meticulously well. She made her bed, with the help of her walking stick. Whatever she could do on her own, she did that. She was a very proud woman and never wanted to be a burden on others. She didn’t want to bother anyone in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Sure enough she had a couple of falls. When I asked her how she got the bruises, she just brushed it off saying “oh I might have fallen down.” She became very quiet in the last couple of months. She was in constant pain, and now all her pain and suffering came to an end.

    Eternal rest, grant unto Connie O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.

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