The of long-time employee has not been easy for her friends and coworkers to come to grips with. Making things even more difficult to take are the looming costs of her funeral, a portion of which remains to be paid.
But Johnson's friends are as resilient and resourceful as they remember her being, and despite the impact of their loss, they are throwing their girl one more party.
A will be held this Sunday, Aug. 19, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Oaklyn Fire Hall.
Money raised from the benefit will go to help offset the remaining costs of Johnson's funeral. Anything beyond that will be contributed to the Michelle A. Johnson Foundation, .
The goal of the Foundation is to advocate for women who suffer physical and emotional abuse, and to raise awareness of their issues. For that reason, says says Katy Seeley, Johnson's friend and a former Tortilla Press coworker, a representative from the Camden County Office of Victim Witness Advocacy will also be in attendance.
"It's a good way to keep Michelle's memory alive for us; to do something positive," Seeley said. "If we can get the base started for the foundation, we can hopefully do some good work with that."
Seeley said Johnson, who "didn't always have it the easiest in life" nonetheless "had a great effect" on the lives of those around her. Her positive outlook and goal-minded focus would have given her a bright future, Seeley said.
"We're really celebrating Michelle's life," Seeley said. ".
"We miss her, obviously," she said. "I don't know that it will ever be completely resolved because there's nobody there to tell us what happened."
The venue holds 150 guests at capacity, and although the organizers anticipate it will be filled, they need to get a final head count—which Seeley says is difficult because "restaurant people like to wait until the last minute.
"It will be a really awesome time to celebrate Michelle and what she stood for," she said.
Tickets for the event must be purchased in advance at Tortilla Press. Not going? You can still donate to the Michelle A. Johnson Fund.