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Doris Maxine Conaway Johnson, affectionately known as Max or Bubbie, daughter of the late George Vernon and the late Helen Hortence Conaway, was born March 27, 1948, at Providence Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. After her third battle with cancer, the Lord called her home on October 27, 2023.
Doris attended public schools in Baltimore and graduated from Edmonson High School class of 1966. She continued her education at Coppin State College (now University) graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. In 1994 she completed her Master of Education studies at Loyola College. Doris was a passionate educator who taught thousands of students in her 34 -year career with Baltimore City Public School System. Her favorite grade to teach was second grade and one of her favorite reading lessons was from the book, “Alexander and the No Good, Horrible, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst. During her most recent illness, she could be found at home or in the hospital bed reading that book. After over three decades in the classroom, Doris pivoted into Administration by accepting a position in Human Resources at Baltimore City Public School Headquarters. This was a position Doris did not find fulfilling. She missed interacting with children. After just a couple of years, Doris returned to a school setting as the Assistant Principal at Mount Washington Elementary School, where she was prior to accepting the HR role. She stayed at Mount Washington until her retirement in 2005. When she moved to North Carolina she felt she had a few more years in her to teach. She accepted a position as the Dean of a private charter school for one year before taking a position with Brunswick County Schools where she taught for two and a half years.
While at Mount Washington, Doris exercised her entrepreneurial skills by starting Beacon After School. Beacon was just as its name suggest, a light in the school that was a safe, secure place for students to be until 6pm Monday through Friday after the school day ended. For 18 years, Beacon had upwards of 75 or more students enrolled and later incorporated a summer program that thrived and was just as successful.
Doris gave her life to Christ at an early age and grew spiritually as a child at Perkins Square Baptist Church in West Baltimore. In her early thirties, she joined Mount Zion Church on Belvedere Avenue in Northeast Baltimore. There she taught Sunday School and organized programs for the children’s ministry. In 1993, Doris along with her daughters joined New Antioch Baptist Church of Randallstown under the tutelage of Pastor Kenneth L. Barney, Sr. Her husband Billy soon followed. For thirteen year she was a faithful member of the Mass Choir and Women’s Ministry. She attended regularly until her and her husband moved to Leland, North Carolina. While living in Leland, Doris joined Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church led by Senior Pastor Dr. Terry Henry. Doris served devotedly as a Greeter and New Member Liaison.
Doris married the love of her life, William Henry Johnson, on March 29, 1997. Doris had two beautiful daughters (Tonya and LaShawn) and William had two handsome sons (Dujuane and Bryan) from previous marriages. Their union was often referred to as “Brady Bunch” connection. Doris was a devoted wife, amazing mother, remarkable grandmother, loving sister, attentive aunt and dedicated friend. Let’s not forget she was the ultimate bargain shopper. In her younger years she could “shop until she dropped” often closing stores. She had a knack and expressive eye for interior design. Many lauded Doris’ home designs and she was fortunate to build and decorate several homes in Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina. Her creative eye also led to Doris being hired as a coordinator for weddings where she also created the floral arrangements. In her later years she took up scrapbooking and she could often be found in her favorite place, her screened-in porch, making books for herself, family and friends.
There are many words that one could use to describe Doris. Those that know her story and have borne witness to her health battles would agree that she is “Crazy Brave and Wicked Strong”. Doris battled not one, not two but three different cancers. Diagnosed with Kidney Cancer in 1996, Multiple Myeloma in 2016 and Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2023. Despite them each affecting her body and making her very sick, her faith never wavered. Even during some of her worst days, she was a light to others and could even be found encouraging health care workers who were there to take care of her. Doris lived for her family and was blessed to meet her 1st great-granddaughter Ariyah a few months before her passing.
Doris was proceeded in death by her parents George Vernon Conaway and Helen Hortense Conaway, her brother George Frederick Conaway, Sr, brother Frank Melvin Conaway, Sr, and sister S. Helena Fallin. She leaves a gift of love and lasting memories to her dedicated husband William “Billy” Henry Johnson, her daughters Tonya Yvette Robinson, LaShawn Monique (Bobby) Mosley, and her sons Keith C. Winslow, Dujuane (Dontai) Johnson and Bryan Taylor Johnson. Her legacy also includes five grandchildren, Thomas, Kayla, Ryan, Destani, and Diamond; two great-granddaughters, Ariyah and Dilynn; sister Shirley Evelyn Conaway; a special niece who was more like a sister Casandra Fallin; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.