Kris Johnson. Artist. Dog rescuer. Mother. Collector of Cherished Things and People. Force to be reckoned with. Words cannot fully encompass the opinionated, stalwart, passionate, productive person she was and the enviable life she led.
Eleanor Kristin McLaughlin Johnson was born May 29, 1941 to Irishman Edmund Fennessy McLaughlin and Bostonian Eleanor (Polly) Parker Dunning, in Westchester County, NY. What she lacked in height she made up for in determination. She raised sheep, earned her Northeastern University degree in Law Enforcement as a single mother in the 1970’s, climbed Katahdin’s Knife Edge five times, befriended wild horses in the Pyrenees, was an early avid campaigner for gun control, and rescued several less-than-fortunate animals. Along with her gregarious and loyal partner Donald Johnson, she lived and flourished for decades in Spain and Southeastern France until illness compelled their return to Maine in 2012.
As a passionate lover of music, driving too fast, singing in community choirs, and the brutal “truth” as she saw it, Kris Johnson was as colorful in life as she was in her paintings. Kris, who was an artist to her core, began painting in 1995 and produced a vast and expressive body of works that exalt her joie de vivre. She remained committed to her lifelong pursuit of knowledge, which she explored in recent years through involvement with the Death Cafe, through conversations with friends about what lays beyond, and through her study of Heather Cox Richardson’s history of Maine and our democracy.
She leaves behind her partner of 40 years Donald Johnson, daughters Jennifer Barber Elkins of Edgecomb, ME and Rebecca Stoddart Barber of Little Silver, NJ, brother Daniel McLaughlin and sister-in-law Suzan Wilson, her son-in-law Michael Roy Elkins of Edgecomb, ME, grandchildren Morganne Sophia Elkins of Budapest, Hungary, Parker Reed Elkins of Minnetonka, MN, Josey Andrew Scannell and Dana Stoddart Scannell of Little Silver, NJ. She also leaves behind her beloved Katie, Daisy and Lucy.
Ultimately no amount of Kris’s determination could change the course of her 2021 cancer diagnosis. On August 30, 2022, Kris passed comfortably under the care of the Sussman House in Rockport, ME. With the help of her friends and family she lived at home for as long as it was possible, spending her final months with her beloved pets in hospice in her own home. She found comfort and peace from her bedside view of Rockland Harbor and Penobscot Bay, as it was where after years of travel she considered home.
Kris requested a green burial and is laid to rest at Cedar Brook Burial Ground in Limington, ME. In lieu of flowers and in support of Kris’s dedication to helpless animals, donations can be made to a shelter of your choice or to Pope Memorial Humane Society, 25 Buttermilk Lane, Thomaston, ME 04861, popehumane.org.
We hope you will join us for an informal celebration of Kris’s life to be held on Saturday October 29, 2022 from 2-5pm at Sail, Power and Steam Museum, Old Snow Shipyard, 75 Mechanic Street in Rockland, ME 04841.
Hall’s of Waldoboro has taken care of the arrangements. To extend online condolences to the family or to share a story or picture visit her Book of Memories page at www.hallfuneralhomes.com.