Agnes Speirs Anderson Johnson


Agnes Speirs Anderson Johnson’s soul passed peacefully from this earth on September 5, 2017 with her family at her side in the final days of her beautiful and extraordinary life.

Born in Paisley, Scotland on March 6, 1933, Agnes graduated valedictorian from New Jersey’s Orange Memorial Hospital School of Nursing as a registered nurse. She devoted her being, her intelligence and endless compassion as a nurse to Kent County Memorial Hospital for 32 years, working years in the emergency room before opening and leading the first ever HIV & Aids Anonymous Testing and Counseling site in RI, where she became a leader and advocate when there were few. Agnes was raised in Newark, NJ by her resilient parents, Robert Anderson and Agnes Speirs Anderson, who emigrated to the United States from Scotland during the depression and worked tenaciously to give a full life to their children till their passing. Married to Leonard in 1957, they began a long life together, building their first home along the sandy coast of Manasquan , NJ. Agnes thrived in all that she did from her younger years in NJ to the shores of RI, where they raised their four children. Agnes was more than a nurse, she was a daughter, a sister, a dear friend, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a caretaker to many, a beautiful piano player, a batonist, a Girl Scout leader, a champion for the poor and unrecognized, and so much more, but most of all she was Agnes - full of strength, dignity and persistence till the end. She carried her tired son Lenny, four years old, up the Grand Canyon on her back in the hot sun, she climbed Mt. Katahdin at 73 years old, alongside her husband, daughter and son-in-law Genae and Jim with her grandchildren coaxing her to the top, she stood proudly with her daughter Beth, and she traveled to the far corners of Africa to enjoy the company of her daughter Lori and grandson. For Agnes, no problem was too insurmountable, no wrong unforgiving, no distance too long.

Her enduring beauty, endless love and generosity, intelligent mind, and strong will for justice for those who had not, lives on with her husband of 60 years, Leonard A. Johnson, her children, Genae Ann Johnson, Leonard “Lenny” B. Johnson, Lorraine “Lori” Agnes Johnson, her late daughter Elizabeth “Beth” Speirs Johnson, her son-in-law James Collins Jr., and her grandchildren Kaitlynd Elizabeth Collins, Benjamin James Collins and Jared Moisés Pinto. She gave her love fully to the end and now in the beyond. Agnes is predeceased by her brother Robert Anderson, sister Pearl “Peggy” Anderson, and brother James Anderson and leaves her love to all of their beautiful children, both here and passed.

Friends and family will gather on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at 11 AM in The Urquhart-Murphy Funeral Home, 800 Greenwich Avenue in Warwick, proceeding to the burial site at Quidnessett Memorial Cemetery, North Kingstown, where a service will be held. Relatives and friends are invited and may call at the funeral home on Friday, September 8, 2017 from 4 p.m.–7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in her memory may be made to: Shriners Hospitals for Children, Office of Donor Development, 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607 or at


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