Barbara Smith Johnston, 81, social worker

Barbara S. Johnston
Barbara S. Johnston
Posted: March 15, 2014

Barbara Smith Johnston, 81, of Cherry Hill, a social worker for Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Hammonton, N.J., and the Merchantville School District, died of complications from a stroke Thursday, March 6, at Cooper University Hospital in Camden.

Mrs. Johnston chose social work for a career, daughter Jennifer said, because she wanted to be "an advocate for those who may not have a voice."

Born in Hampton, Va., Mrs. Johnston was the valedictorian of the class of 1951 at Huntington High School in Newport News, Va., and earned a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1955 at Virginia State University.

Mrs. Johnston then earned a master's in social work in 1958 at what is now Virginia Commonwealth University.

She worked as a psychiatric social worker at the former Allentown State Hospital to 1960, and at Ancora from 1960 to 1964 and again from 1967 to 1968, her husband, Theodore, a retired physician, said.

Between her two terms at Ancora, she worked at St. Elizabeths Hospital, the public psychiatric hospital for the District of Columbia, while her husband studied at the College of Medicine of Howard University.

From 1973 to 1975, she was an elementary school social worker for the Merchantville School District, her husband said.

Mrs. Johnston was president in 1976-77 of the parent-teacher organization at Haddonfield Friends School and then a member of the board of directors of the YWCA of Camden County.

Paul Shallers, headmaster at Haddonfield Friends at the time she was there, said "she was a very warm and classy lady."

Shallers, now an English teacher at Moorestown Friends School, recalled that at Haddonfield Friends, she dealt with problems "with great judgment and calm."

A charter member of the South Jersey chapter of Theta Pi Omega sorority, she also was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

Besides her husband and daughter Jennifer, Mrs. Johnston is survived by daughter Janice and two brothers.

A visitation was set from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 14, and 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. Saturday, March 15, both at the Schetter Funeral Home, 304 Marlton Pike W., Cherry Hill, before a funeral service at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Haddonfield Friends Meeting, 45 Friends Ave., with interment in Lakeview Memorial Park in Cinnaminson.

A reception was set for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 15, in the Dining Hall Commons of Moorestown Friends School, 110 E. Main St.

Donations may be sent to the Barbara Smith Johnston Scholarship, Virginia State University Foundation, Box 9071, Petersburg, Va. 23806.

Condolences may be offered to the family at

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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