TRAVERSE CITY — Johnnie Louise Zachman, 99, of Traverse City, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 2, 2014, at Munson Hospice House with her son, John, and daughter-in-law, Peggy, at her side.
Johnnie was born on June 13, 1914, in Memphis, Tenn., to the late John Franklin Oliver and Mindia Esther (Hall) Oliver. She spent her early years with her parents and two sisters, Esther and Kathyleen, in Waco, Texas.
She attended Baylor University, where she was a piano accompanist for music performances. In 1940 she moved to Washington D.C., where she worked for the U.S. Civil Service Commission and met Lieutenant Roland Arthur Zachman.
They were married in Roland’s hometown of Perrysburg, Ohio, on Dec. 4, 1942. Their son, John Oliver Zachman, was born on Oct. 27, 1943, in Washington D.C. Six months later, as he was returning from a U.S. Navy assignment to deliver documents to Pearl Harbor, Roland died in a plane crash outside of Flagstaff, Ariz. Johnnie and her son, John, then moved from the nation’s capital to Perrysburg and then to Maumee, Ohio, where she lived for the next 40 years.
She received her Bachelor of Education degree from Bowling Green State University in 1953.
She was married to William Newton French Sr. in 1956. That marriage ended in divorce in 1970.
Johnnie had started working at The Toledo State Hospital as a social worker in 1968. In 1975 while continuing her career at The Toledo State Hospital she began pursuing post-graduate work in education. Four years later, at the age of 65, Johnnie graduated from The University of Toledo with a Master in Education in guidance and counseling.
In 1983 she retired and continued living in Maumee, Ohio, in her cozy red house filled with her wonderful antique collection. Never one to sit still for long, Johnnie moved to Traverse City in 1986 in order to be closer to her son, John, and his family.