Barbara Gunning Johansen

barbara johansen

October 27, 1932 ~ September 21, 2020

Born in: Atlanta, GA
Resided in: Atlanta, GA

In memory of Barbara Gunning Johansen

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Gladys and George Gunning, the red-haired, freckle-skinned Barbara Anne was a welcome addition to siblings Patricia, Marie Claire, Tim, Joan, Maureen, and later Tommy.
Demorest Avenue was home during her school years at Christ the King, graduating from the high school in 1950.

Four years in Buffalo, New York, resulted in a Medical Records Librarian degree from D’Youville College, as well as lifelong friends who also served as traveling companions.

After an orchestrated encounter with a handsome Georgia Tech graduate (her one and only Fred), Barbara began the career that she always celebrated – wife and mother of her five.

A strong Southern lady, Barbara was extraordinarily proud to be a native Atlantan (even though she preferred Pepsi over Coca-Cola). She was fastidious in her attire. From her ever-present hat to her matching scarf and accessories, she was always dressed and ready for any event.

She was masterful at the sewing machine, and sought refuge there as a quiet place at night, creating countless Easter Sunday outfits, Halloween costumes, as well as extraordinary wedding dresses for her four daughters.

Barbara’s handwriting was beautiful and her note writing legendary. She wrote cards to every member of her family on their birthday, and her notes of prayer, sympathy, and congratulations were heartfelt and tender.

Barbara celebrated life every day, and was ready for any adventure. She loved traveling with Fred on his Delta trips. Her enthusiasm, creativity, and energy were evident when tasked with hosting parties at her beloved Heal-Over on Lake Burton and at her residence at the Carlyle.

Barbara adored her family. The Johansens’ annual summer gathering in the mountains of North Georgia, and later at locations around the U.S., always included a full house with multiple generations, playful and competitive events, late nights and plentiful love.

Christ the King Cathedral was the foundation of Barbara’s life. She attended Mass daily, and was a lector and eucharistic minister. She cherished her lifelong relationship with this Catholic community, participating in countless church-sponsored events and volunteering for numerous committees. She lived her faithful devotion to God daily through the sacraments, through her words and her deeds, and through her generosity and her patience.

Barbara is survived by her children Janice, Alec, Laura, Kristen, and Emily, their spouses Ron Spieker, Kim Stevens, Joel Jeffcoat, George Kilguss, and Ken Pecoraro, and her grandchildren Martha and Patrick, Clayton and Hattie, Gieva, Mya, and Eric, George, and Michaela, Ryan, Matthew, and Henry.
Thank you, Mama, for your passionate love of Daddy for 59 years, for your celebration of family, for your joyful singing, for folding the most perfect fitted sheet, and for choosing your final path with courage and conviction.

The planet is awfully quiet without you, Barbara.

Safe journey, Mere.

Private mass for family. Livestream instructions on the Cathedral’s website:

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests gifts to:

The Catholic Foundation of North Georgia/The Gunning Johansen Endowment Fund
5871 Glenridge Drive, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30328.


Cathedral of Christ the King
2699 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30305.

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