Lee Brun Johnson

Lee Brun Johnson

Friday, May 10th, 1935 - Friday, January 10th, 2020
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Lee Brun (“Lee”) Johnson, 84, of O’Hara Township, Pennsylvania, died on Friday January 10, 2020, at UPMC Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh, after a short illness.  

Lee Brun, the youngest of four siblings, was born on May 10, 1935 in Hopewell, Virginia to Jimmy Clarence Johnson and Pansy Kirk (Johnson, Huff) both originally from South Carolina.  Following her birth, the family, including her brothers Elbridge and Wendell (aka “Bookie”) her sister Nettie Otella and Lee Brun moved to Washington D.C., for a short period, and then to Pittsburgh.  

Lee Brun attended the Crescent Elementary School in Brushton and then Westinghouse for Junior High and High School, where she was active on the cheerleading squad and earned admission into the National Honor Society. 

Following high school, Lee Brun attended the University of Pittsburgh where, in 1958, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. At Pitt, Lee Brun was a proud member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and was always quick to remind her children that she was named Queen of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity in 1956.  She also sang in the women’s choir. Following her college graduation, Lee Brun began working with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.  

In 1957, she met a young attorney, Livingstone M. Johnson, at a picnic hosted by the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. They met again in 1958 when Livingstone assisted in the mediation of a dispute at the Bethany Baptist Church where Lee Brun worshipped. A month after that, a mutual friend re-introduced them and after a short courtship, they were married at Heinz Chapel on April 30, 1960.  The young couple moved to O’Hara Township to live and raise their family: Lee Carol (born in 1961), Oliver Morris II (born in 1962), Judith Lee (born in 1963) Livingstone James (born in 1968) and Patricia Lee (born in 1970).  

Lee Brun was passionate about being a mom and always stressed the importance of education.  She was a fierce protector of her children and an enthusiastic supporter of their performances and events. To be one of Lee Brun’s children meant knowing that you were in trouble if you gave anything less than your best effort or showed up someplace other than where you were supposed to be. But you also knew that she had your back all the way.  There was no distance she wouldn’t drive for one of those performances, and woe be the parents of the school bully foolish enough to mess with one of her kids, or the teacher handing out an unfair grade. 

Once her kids were a certain age, she went back to Pitt, and in 1977, earned her Masters Degree in Social Work. She then returned to the workforce, first caring for pre-school children with disabilities at St. Hyacinth’s church, followed by the Bradley Center (providing support services to children at risk) and then serving as the Assistant Director at Manchester Neighborhood Centers.  She left Neighborhood Centers in 1980 and spent the remainder of her career at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (“UPMC”, formerly the Presbyterian University Hospital) where she first worked as a dialysis social worker and then worked directly with Dr. Thomas Starzl, the pioneer of modern organ transplantation. She retired from UPMC in 1997.  

Lee Brun enjoyed her retirement, spending as much time as possible with her beloved children and grandchildren.  There were some absolutes with Lee Brun. Don’t mess with her family, and don’t mess with her sacred hair appointment. Not necessarily in that order.  She was quick witted, mischievous, and loving. She loved to laugh and desperately enjoyed a good story (the more wicked the better!). Above all, she loved her family and literally wore her unending pride on a daily basis, always adorned with a t-shirt from one of the schools attended by her children, children-in-law or grandchildren.  

In the spirit of her deep pride in her family and the importance she placed on education, please indulge our family as we run through her survivors in a manner she would appreciate:     

Lee Brun (or “Gam” as her nine grandchildren called her) is survived by her loving husband of over fifty-nine years, The Honorable Livingstone Morris Johnson, a retired Pennsylvania State Trial Judge in Allegheny County for thirty-five years, and a proud graduate of Howard University and the University of Michigan Law School. 

She is also survived by her children, their spouses and her grandchildren as follows:  

Lee Carol Cook of Oak Hill, Virginia, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the University of Michigan Law School, her husband, William E. Cook, Jr.  a retired Partner in the Washington D.C. Office of Arnold & Porter and a graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School, and their children, Robinson Johnson Cook (22, a junior at the University of Wisconsin) and Ellison Jordan Cook (19, a freshman Chancellor’s Scholar in the Honors College at the University of Pittsburgh); 

Oliver Morris Johnson II of Baltimore, Maryland, Executive Vice-President and General Counsel of MedStar Health and a graduate of Williams College and the Georgetown University Law Center, his wife Mabel Cabello Johnson, a graduate of the New York University, and their children, Lauren Lee Johnson (27, a graduate of Harvard University, a Fulbright Scholar and a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School) and Kristen Lee Johnson (25, a graduate of Williams College);

Judith Lee Campagnari of Westerly, Rhode Island, Executive Director, New Product Strategy at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and a graduate of Smith College and the Joseph M. Katz Business School at the University of Pittsburgh, her husband Dr. Christopher Campagnari, a Family Medicine practitioner and a graduate of Springfield College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and their daughter, Emma Helen Campagnari (18, a freshman at the University of Michigan);

Livingstone James Johnson of Atlanta, Georgia, an attorney with The Coca-Cola Company and a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, his wife Elisabeth Remy Johnson, the Principal Harpist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and a graduate of Harvard University, and their children, Lillian Grace Johnson (9) and Alexander James Johnson (7); and 

Patricia Lee Pettiford of New Orleans, Louisiana, a graduate of Williams College and the Joseph M. Katz Business School at the University of Pittsburgh, her husband, Dr. Brian Pettiford, Section Head, General Thoracic Surgery at Oschner Health System and a graduate of Morehouse College, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and the University of Miami Herbert School of Business, and their children, Jacob Walker Pettiford (18) and Olivia Johnson Pettiford (14).  

The family wishes to thank the doctors, nurses and staff that assisted Lee Brun at UPMC Shadyside, and all the friends and family who have reached out to express love and support.  

She loved deeply, and she was deeply loved.  We will miss our Gam.  

There will be a private family burial on January 31, 2020 followed by a memorial service to be held at the Heinz Chapel on a date to be announced.  Condolences may be mailed to the family at the following address: The Lee Brun Johnson Family, c/o Coston Funeral Homes, Inc., 427 Lincoln Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the “University of Pittsburgh,” The General Scholarship Fund in honor of Lee Brun Johnson. Mail gift to: University of Pittsburgh, Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement, 128 N Craig St, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; or make a gift online: 
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Sindi Sheers sent flowers to the family of Lee Brun Johnson.
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Posted at 04:53pm
My memories of the Johnson family are lovely. Unfortunately, I have lost touch with the “kids”, but my Johnson memories are strong. Livingstone officiated at my wedding, Lee Carole welcoming me to spend a night, a thousand years ago. I am honored to have a connection with wonderful family

Sindi Sheers

Posted at 01:29pm
Thinking of you and your family this week.
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Karla Jones

Posted at 05:41am
Love you Auntie Lee Brun. I will cherish our visits. Love your niece Karla
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Posted at 08:38pm
My sincere condolences to Livingstone. Lee Brun and I went to Westinghouse High of whom I remembered as a person I respected.

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