Barbara Brennan Johnson

August 05, 1949 - February 19, 2024

Barbara Brennan Johnson

August 05, 1949 - February 19, 2024


Barbara Brennan Johnson, age 74, died peacefully February 19, 2024, at her home in Bellingham, Washington of glioblastoma, which she had been fighting since July 2022.  Her husband, Steven, and sister, Nancy, were at her side.

Born August 5, 1949, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Barbara grew up in Spencerport, New York.  After graduation from Spencerport Central High School, she earned a bachelor’s degree at Denison University in Ohio in 1971.

In 1972, Barbara married Karl Johnson and soon after the couple moved to the Bay Area of California.  Barbara continued her education by earning a master’s degree in education at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California.  She taught at a Montessori school until the birth of her first child, Lucas, in 1982, after which she focused on what she considered the best job of her life – raising her children.  Her second child, Nell, was born in 1985.

Barbara and Karl divorced in 2003.  She met her second husband, Steven Johnson, in a singing group, the Gryphon Carolers, that she had belonged to for many years.  Barbara and Steven moved from Palo Alto, California to Bellingham, Washington in 2005 and were married in 2006.  For the five years before the move, Barbara was Marketing Coordinator for the Stanford Program for International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) – a job she loved and would probably classify as her second-best job, after raising her children.

Barbara loved music, singing, and dancing.  When the right music was playing, she couldn’t help but dance no matter how tired she might be. Shortly after moving to Bellingham, her love for singing led her to join a chorus in Bellingham, the Whatcom Chorale, to which she belonged until her cancer made it impossible to continue singing.  Barbara also sang in a trio (Patina) with two other Chorale members, Hilde Meadow and Susan Bennerstrom.

Barbara enjoyed travel.  Her favorite destination was Ireland, which she visited with Steve in 2019.  She loved Ireland because of the music, the people, and the predominant place it held in her genetic heritage.  She said it felt like home to her.

Barbara is predeceased by her parents, Charles “Bud” Brennan, and her mother Joan Stimson Brennan.

Surviving her are husband Steven; daughter Nell (Trent) Lee of Bellingham, WA; son Lucas (Megan Carney) Johnson of Tucson, AZ; sister Nancy (K Collins) Brennan of Lafayette, LA; brother Charlie (Neale) Brennan of Hernando, FL; and three grandchildren: Hazel, Declan, and Nova, and her many friends in Bellingham and Palo Alto.

Cremation by Moles Farewell Tributes.  A celebration of Barbara’s life will be held in early summer at her home in Bellingham.  A second celebration will be held in late summer for family in western New York.

Barbara brought grace, beauty, and light everywhere she went.  May her journey be as filled with beauty and love as she was.

No Events & Services

No Charities & Donations

No Gallery Photos

No Videos

Leave A Condolence