On September 11, 2012, St. Peter welcomed Madelyn “Wookie” Augusta Sinclair Johnson, 85, with open arms, ending her long struggle with Alzheimer’s.
A celebration of Wookie’s life will be held on Saturday, September 15 at 10 am at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church with the Rev. Jo Roberts Mann officiating. Funeral arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Wookie was born on February 27, 1927 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Madeline Ricks Sinclair and Alfred Charles Sinclair. Right from the start, she was a firecracker. Her father nicknamed her Wookie, a name that stuck for the rest of her life. She was bubbly and full of fun, so it was no surprise that she cheered her way through Lamar High School in Houston. Wookie attended Rice University where she was active in campus life, including the Owen Wister Literary Society (OWLS) and the editorial board of the yearbook. She was chosen Slipstick Queen and Queen of the Rondelet. After graduating from Rice in 1948 with a BA in English, she married the love of her life, Jerome Johnson, Jerry, or to her, Jeromeo!
When Jerry graduated from The University of Texas law school in 1952, they moved to Amarillo with their baby daughter, Julie. There, during the next ten years, they welcomed six more daughters: Haise, Madeline, Shannon, Grey, Polly, and Amy. Without question, Wookie’s greatest joy was her family. She counted all of her daughters as her closest friends and they would say there was no better mother. In later years, Wookie became Cookie, the most wonderful grandmother to her twelve grandchildren, and just lately, she was blessed with two great granddaughters.
Wookie was way ahead of her time. At age 40, before it was fashionable to exercise, she started running and became a health food nut. Her escapades to get the freshest, most nutritious, and widest variety of ingredients are legendary.
An artist for 32 years, she chronicled her daughters’ lives through the Christmas cards she designed. She contributed her design talents to many organizations. One of her most recognizable designs is the windmill wreath logo of the Amarillo Art Alliance’s Christmas Roundup. Once her daughters were grown, she began painting portraits and won many awards for her artwork.
Wookie was a tireless volunteer. She served as Chairman of the Board and interim Executive Director of the Discovery Center, President of the Lawyers’ Wives Auxiliary, Symphony Board member, Symphony Ball Chairman in 1975, founding member of the Amarillo Art Alliance, and Board member of the Texas Fine Arts Commission. Additionally, she served as room mother countless times, was a delegate to the national PTA convention, held various offices in the Junior League of Amarillo, served on the Vestry and Sunday School Coordinator at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and was area representative and recruiter for the Rice University Alumni Board. In all things, Wookie got the job done with grace, charm, and humor.
Above all, Wookie was an extremely giving person. She loved children, loved being a mother and wife, and loved taking care of others. Her generous spirit touched many lives.
Wookie is preceded in death by her mother and father, brother Jack Sinclair, sister Jane Weakly, and sister Celeste Caldwell. She is survived by her husband Jerome Johnson, her daughters: Julie Evans (Ken), Haise Currie (Carlton), Madeline Johnson, Shannon Brady (Kevin), Grey Vicars (Jim), Polly Williams (Ritchie), Amy Dunham (David); twelve grandchildren: Sam Evans (Loralynne), Pete Evans (Kristin), Ellen Currie, Madeline Currie, Kelly Vicars, Will Vicars, Tom Brady, Catherine Brady, Gus Williams, Grant Williams, Win Dunham, Johnson Dunham; her great granddaughters: Grace Evans, Olivia Evans; her brother Stuart Sinclair (Betty), her sister-in-law Sara Lu Redding, her brother-in-law Hal Weakly and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends.
Her family deeply appreciates the care and compassion provided by her doctors and the nurses and staff of the Village at Ware Living Center, and would like to give special thanks to everyone who visited and helped Wookie and her family, including BSA Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the following organizations: Ware Living Center – The Village (1300 S. Harrison, Amarillo 79101), the Don Harrington Discovery Center (1200 Streit Drive, Amarillo 79106), or St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (1601 South Georgia Street, Amarillo 79102).