Donna Johnson has resided on Roosevelt Drive in the northern section of Milwaukee's Sherman Park for thirty-five years. When she first moved to her home, she was a new mother and excited about the attached garage, a treat in such a wintry city. The homebuying experience was sometimes stressful, but pales in comparison to the pride she has in her home, front yard, and backyard. She attends meticulously to her yard and its appearance. Passersby sometimes think she has her front yard professionally done. Her home is full of memories and love; family portraits of older and younger generations adorn her mantel above the fireplace, and some of her houseplants are about forty years old and some have come from her deceased Mom and she adoringly cares for them.
Ms. Johnson and her neighbors keep a watchful eye on the street, looking out for each other. Most of the neighbors on her block have lived on Roosevelt for over thirty years as well. If something is amiss, as when the lateral water main to her house broke and flooded her driveway, neighbors stop by to alert her. Ms. Johnson has, over the years, taken part in local events such as gatherings at Sherman Perk Coffee Shop or aldermanic meetings.
Ms. Johnson also enjoys music and attends some summer concerts at Gengler Park. She attends shows downtown, and at some events she volunteers as an usher. She passed her love of music and art on to both her children. Her son John lives in New York City and works in the service industry in addition to being a DJ and comedian. Her daughter Angela is an accomplished guitarist who has traveled and toured internationally.
Ms. Johnson retired in 2010 after a long career with the City of Milwaukee. She was first employed by the city as a counselor while she was a college student and she worked for several summers with the Learn By Doing Program. After she finished a degree in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, she started her career with the City of Milwaukee in the Personnel Department and later in the City Clerk's Office. In her position in the City Clerk's Office she worked for Aldermen and Alderwomen from all of the City's aldermanic districts and this enhanced her understanding of diversity and goals of different neighborhoods and allowed her to work impartially with all of them. While she immensely enjoyed the work she did and found that it challenged her, she is currently happily retired. She remains very active with volunteer work and events at Washington Park Senior Center and is serving as a board member of the Wisconsin Senior Olympics.
Donna Johnson is an encouraging and dependable person and has tried to be that in all of her roles: as a mother, neighbor, and friend. A two-time breast cancer survivor, she volunteered for the After Breast Cancer Diagnosis (ABCD) mentoring program that helps women navigate the process of getting treatment for breast cancer. She is also committed to her community, and has no plans to leave her home. She cares for her neighbors and feels safe among them, and enjoys certain freedoms that homeowners have that would not be available in a condominium or apartment. Her love for the neighborhood is expressed in her actions such as making sure that litter and trash is picked up, not just in front of her house but along the block, bus stop, and median along Roosevelt Drive. She knows that if you demonstrate that you care about the neighborhood, other people will show more respect for the neighborhood as well.
A Sense of Belonging
First Job with the City
Performing Her Job at the City Impartially
Diversity in the Ranks of City Employees
City of Milwaukee Employees with Same Last Names
Staying Socially Engaged after Retirement
Lead Lateral Pipes Burst, Getting Them Replaced