April 10, 1933 ~ June 27, 2021

Born in: Buncombe Co., NC
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Joan Avery Mulvaney Johnson
4/10/1933 – 6/27/2021
(a.k.a. Joanie, Mom, Gar, Garsie)

Born on Monday, April 10, 1933, in Asheville NC to Norbert P. and Lillian A. Felthaus Mulvaney, Joan was the second of four children. She is preceded in death by her husband of 68 years Gene D. Johnson, mother, father, two brothers Jack and Jim, sister Carolyn, and great grandson Brett Tinsley.

Joan was a cradle catholic and a lifetime member of St. Joan of Arc Parish where she served the church in various roles. She sang in the choir, was a member of the ladies’ auxiliary, served on the Parish counsel, and in 1993, Joan facilitated the publication of St. Joan of Arc Church and School 65 Years of Faith and Service. Joan, her brothers, sister and children attended St. Joan of Arc school. Joan graduated from St. Genevieve of the Pines in 1950. She spoke often of her days at SGP and her friends “The Toppers”. The ladies kept in touch over the years.

On September 29, 1950, at the age of 17, Joan married the love of her life Gene Davis Johnson (age 20) and settled down in West Asheville. Joan and Gene had seven children: Kathy Carr of Lavonia, GA, Michael Johnson (Teresa) of Asheville, Susan Sheary of Morganton, Steve Johnson (Joel) of Asheville, Margie Pressley (Jerry) of Nebo, Ken Johnson (Sally) of Asheville, and Mary Lee (Jack) of Zebulon, NC. Joan truly left her mark on the world with her 7 children, 19 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and 7 great-great-grandchildren.

As dad’s partner in life, mom was the co-owner of Johnson’s Atlantic Service Station at the intersection of Haywood Road and Fairfax Avenue in West Asheville and currently Johnsons Auto Recycling. Joan kept the books for the business.

Outside of work, her life as the matriarch of the family was centered around her children and grandchildren. She loved to have everyone over for dinners, game nights and sleepovers. Christmas was her favorite holiday and shopping for presents began as early as September each year. We called her Garsie Clause.

The Johnson children loved to spend time with Gar and Papa at the lake and as the family grew the lake trips grew to include multiple boats and campers. Thank you, Vic and Robin Fraley, for allowing us to stay at your place every July 4th week for years. The annual trips were the highlight of our year. Mom would plan the meals and buy the groceries making sure to include all the favorite snacks and remind us not to forget to bring our games. A large box (sometimes two) of Tootsie Roll Pops was a staple. The pontoon boat had to have a deck of cards, puzzle books, chocolate cookies, peanut butter crackers for snacking. The boat ride accompanied by a tootsie pop was expected daily and it better not rain! Fond memories of times with Gar are regaled in Facebook posts by family members. Thank you to our Facebook family for your prayers and condolences.

Gar never missed an opportunity to go to Walt Disney World and the more children and grandchildren she could get to come along the better. Parents were delighted that Gar wanted to take their children even if they could not come. She was a member of the Mickey Mouse Club, knew all the characters, movies, and stories. She made sure everyone took home Disney souvenirs from each trip. All new babies needed a Mickey Mouse stuffed animal from Gar. So much fun!

Gar loved her sweets, classic movies, reading and music. Chocolate was the perfect gift. She encouraged her progeny to enrich their lives through faith, education, and the arts. Mom would scour the entertainment section for the new movies or plays at Flat Rock Playhouse and send out “let’s go” message to all. She listened to the Rat Pack, Andy Williams and some of the new music. If she could not remember the words to a song, she would fill in with La, La, La. Her motto was “only go home when you have nowhere else to go”.

For approximately 15 years mom battled Alzheimer’s disease. Her granddaughter, Jennifer “Jenna Benna” Pressley Deweese provided many hours of loving care to her in her home. Jenna and Gar shared many adventures. Ask Jenna, she has lots of stories to share with us for years to come. The Johnsons wish to acknowledge and thank all her caregivers, Karen Snelson, Theresa Johnson, Shanna Warren, and Carrie Cooper, Chris Powell for the loving care they provided to Joan in recent years. We know you loved mom and grieve with us. But we also know that you are happy that she is freed from the pain and confusion caused by this awful disease. We also wish to thank the nurses at Four Seasons Hospice for their support these past weeks.

Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m. St Joan of Arc Church 768 Asbury Rd., Candler, NC 28715. Interment will be at Green Hills Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the church from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning prior to the service.

Memorials may be made to Memory Care of Asheville, 100 Far Horizons Lane, Asheville, NC 28803.


Visitation: July 3, 2021 9:00 am

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church
768 Asbury Road
Candler, NC 28715


Funeral Mass: July 3, 2021 10:00 am

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church
768 Asbury Road
Candler, NC 28715


Burial: July 3, 2021 11:00 am

Green Hills Cemetery
25 New Leicester Hwy.
Asheville, NC 28806


Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home - Patton Ave.
1401 Patton Ave.
Asheville, NC 28806


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  1. Kenny and family so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  2. So sorry to hear of the passing of Joan. She was a wonderful lady and loved her family so much.Prayers for peace and strength during this difficult time.

  3. Prayers sent to the family of this wonderful lady. Key lady in west Asheville. She will truly be missed. Last of a dieing breed of truly good people. Wished we had more wonderful people like her

  4. To all the family : So sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. Always keep the good memories ! With thoughts and prayers, Ramona Sloop Moore

  5. To the Johnson Family, I’m so sorry to hear of Joans passing! She was such a sweet lady. I remember her well from the SJA school days. Just a very lovely and sweet person! Prayers for all of you!

  6. I love this whole family.
    My prayers are with yall at this time. We spent alot of childhood times together. God has a beautiful angel 😇.
    Love yall

  7. I’m so sad to hear about Joan’s passing. What a wonderful lady she was! I have so many memories of her and the whole family.
    It’s so hard to give up our parents. I truly understand. Sending love and prayers ❤
    Terri Ramsey Burnette

  8. Mary, So sorry about your Momma. We had several conversations about her and your Daddy. Even though you were working in Raleigh, you thoughts were with her in Asheville and you kept up with all that was going on with her. You were a good and faithful daughter to her. May the Lord give comfort and strength to you, Kasey and your entire family now and in the days to come.
    Love you Mary, Debbie.

  9. To the Johnson Family. I have never know a family as special and kind as this one! I have had the pleasure to be a part of knowing for years and they have made me feel like part of the family! Mrs Johnson always had a beautiful smile on her face and was so kind. She will be missed.

  10. Love and prayers to all the Johnsons. Your mom was a pillar at SJA. Fond memories. Basketball concessions, hot dog day, field trips. May she rest in peace. ❤️

  11. From the Perry’s and the May’s and the leppert from west Asheville . We grieve for the family. Sending healing thoughts and prayers to each. Asheville has lost a great person and their isn’t that many good people left. To teach a younger generation. God bless you guys

  12. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time of loss. Joan was a very special person and dearly loved her family. She and Gene were especially good to Randy during his lifetime and he loved them. I will always remember her kindness.

  13. So sorry to hear of Joan’s passing. She was a wonderful lady. When I think of the days at Saint Joan of Arc I do think of her. She was a big part of Saint Joan of Arc. Only good memories of Johnson family. All so kind. My thoughts and prayers are with all the family now. God bless all of you.

  14. My the Lord bless your family as you go through this process. I love your mother. She’s was wonderful to be around.

  15. To the Family, I sorry for your lost. I had the pleasure to be a part of knowing her and gene. Working with them, She never forgot her employers, on holidays , Valentine’s Day, st. Patrick day, Birthdays, yes Thanksgiving, and yes drawing names at work for Christmas. She will be missed..

  16. Dear Family, So sorry to hear about Joan, and Gene too. Have known these 2 lovely people since 1958 or so.
    Hung around the Atlantic station, Gene let me work on my old 1954 Chevy in the garage. They lived next-door
    to my Grandmother, Virgie Duckett for many years on Fairfax Ave., was always welcome to visit their home there anytime. I remember all the children growing up there, a really happy family with parents that cared about any and everyone. I have been away from Asheville for over 35 years now living, working in Richmond, VA.
    I know they are missed everyday. Much love, Charlie Edwards

  17. My memory of Joan is all positive. she was the most giving, caring and pleasant person. She always had a smile and spread joy to those around her. I was principal at St. Joan of Arc and her children were in the school. She helped in so many ways and shared her great spirit and love of life. My love and sympathy is extended to her family. May Joan rest in peace!


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