As those close with make preparations to lay her to rest this week, there is still a gloom that hangs over the brightly colored Mexican restaurant where the young woman had worked for so many years.
"She was always smiling, laughing, cracking a joke," said Tortilla Press server Brendan Dugan.
Dugan said he still half-expects to see Johnson's name on the schedule when he checks his hours.
"It’s just really, really messed up," he said.
The 21-year-old Tortilla Press server , who then shot himself.
Like Dugan, Tortilla Press owner Mark Smith said he's still "really upset and disturbed and sorry" when he thinks about the loss of his young employee, but that he has been moved by the ways his employees have responded "to make the best of a bad situation."
Within a few days, businesses around town had hung fliers inviting donations to help offset the costs of her funeral. By Monday, they had created the Michelle A Johnson Memorial page on Facebook. This week, they established a foundation in Johnson's name that will support victims of domestic violence.
"The employees and the customers have been showing a lot of support," said general manager Evan Weissman.
"We've been able to raise a good amount of money so far."
Weissman said a beef-and-beer is planned for sometime in August. Prospective donors should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Johnson's viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight at , 15 West End Ave. in Haddonfield.
Her funeral will take place Thursday at 11 a.m. at the , 124 E. Kings Hwy in Haddonfield.
Johson's memorial Facebook page offers the following obituary:
Michelle Amber Johnson, known to most as “Shelley,” was born October 3, 1990 to James and Rhonda Johnson in Cincinnati, OH. Michelle spent the majority of her childhood and teenage years as resident of Henry County, Virginia, where she lived life with a vitality seen in few.
A bright, bubbly presence, Shelley bounced into the room with an effortless smile and a cheery greeting, “Hey, ya'll!” From a childhood that brought strength and independence, Michelle's drive was learned at a young age. Relocating to Collingswood, New Jersey as a teen, Michelle relied on hard work, perseverance, and an innate ability to find good in the world to establish herself in Collingswood, New Jersey.
Michelle looked to tomorrow with wisdom from yesterday, starting work at The Tortilla Press in 2009. Eager to please, Michelle quickly proved her dedication as a busser, then hostess and finally as server. Clear to all who entered the restaurant, Shelley sought to create a dining experience to all customers with her attention to accuracy, her charm and effortless grace. Fostering dreams of opening her own restaurant, Michelle's abilities in finance and style would have provided a great foundation in this pursuit – in any pursuit. Michelle had the drive to be a success, she was indeed bound for greatness.
On July 18, 2012, a horrific tragedy took place, in which Shelley’s life was taken as a result. At the tender age of 21, it would appear to most that Shelley did not get a chance to fully live her life. Those who knew her on a more intimate level could attest to the fact that anything Shelley wanted to have or do, there was nothing or anyone that could deter her from getting or accomplishing the feat. Her life, her struggles, her ups and downs are a true testimony to any willing or needing soul.
Our Southern Belle, we are grateful we had you for as long as we did, though it wasn't long enough. We hold true in our hearts that you are at peace, watching over us and inspiring us each day. Your strengths and beauty will continue to live on through us all. You will always be dear to us and we will love you forever.