Victoria Johnson, Founder and creator of “Neighborhood Solutions”; A company responsible for helping thousands of lower income citizens passed suddenly of what is believed to be a possible stroke on Monday, November 13th. She was 60 and had recently suffered from a TIA but had been released and sent home.
Vicki was born in West Point, New York to M/Sgt Martin “Blackie” Jones and Muriel Griffiths Jones. In 1960 they moved to Pleasant Hill, California living on Esther Drive. After school she volunteered as a candy stripper in a home for the elderly. She graduated from Pleasant Hill High School in 1975.
Upon graduation she attended court reporting school in the evenings and played the role of Auntie to her nieces Heather, Holly and Alison.
Initially though, Vicki found employment with AMTRAK where she met Luther Gene Johnson. While dating Vicki met and established a relationship with Gene’s children, Eric and Aaron. Eric was 13 and lived with Gene full time, while Aaron who was 3 would not come to live with them until he was 7. Eric and Vicki hit if off immediately taking Eric on day trips around the Bay Area bonding establishing a very close and loving relationship. With her love and support Vicki brought everyone together to make a truly loving family of 4.
In 1983, she applied to the California Highway Patrol and was accepted. However, upon graduating, rather than relocating to L.A., she chose a position locally as Pleasant Hill’s Code Enforcement Officer. Her new position allowed her to observe many low income residents struggling to comply and often she would devote her own time cleaning up and mowing residences herself.
During her tenure with the city she created a program that allowed residents of low income access to grants and low interest deferred payment loans to rehabilitate their homes. She developed the guidelines, applied for federal funding and vetted/approved applicants. The program’s success prompted Pleasant Hill to offer her services to other cities where she created similar programs in Walnut Creek and Concord.
Realizing that the administration of these programs could be combined to offer lower operating costs to cities, she eventually resigned and created “Neighborhood Solutions” establishing and administering programs in San Leandro, Pleasanton, Livermore and San Ramon as well as smaller projects in Hayward and Fremont. She also constructed programs out of the area in the city of Folsom and received inquiries from cities across the country. All of these programs benefited thousands of her fellow citizens.
Vicki and Gene were married on a point overlooking Lake Tahoe on September 27th, 1986. In 1989 she was blessed with the gift of her 1st born Daughter “Araia Victoria Johnson”. Araia was the love of her life and her proudest moment. The family of 5 grew together and became even closer.
Not missing a beat she provided emotional and financial support to Eric though out College while supporting Aaron and Araia in any endeavors that they would undertake whether they asked for her support or not. Vicki made it her business to make sure each of her children grew up to be caring, loving and career oriented adults. She taught her Children the importance of getting an education and grammar and advocated honesty in pursuing their goals while helping those who could not help themselves. It was the right thing to do according to Vicki.
She was a loving and supportive Grandmother taking on a different name to her Grandchildren such as Granny and Grandma Vic. Alexyss Johnson was her oldest Grandchild, Daughter of her son Aaron Johnson. Derek and her youngest Michael Johnson were sons of son Eric Johnson. She was also looking forward to meeting her soon to arrive Granddaughter Olivia Johnson. She was a proud Grandmother who showered all her Grandchildren with love.
Throughout the years there wasn’t an event or family function where her culinary expertise didn’t stand out. Her Tarts at Christmas, pork chops and gravy, scampi, pies and Gumbo were family favorite. She had a great voice and joined a choir and could often be heard singing while cooking large dinners for her family. She even joined fantasy football and her team found success there too.
Interestingly, Vicki was ambidextrous and during all of her successes she found time attend court reporting school, obtain her Private Investigator license and a degree in management at St Marys College, Moraga, California..
Vicki is survived by her daughter Araia Victoria Johnson. Sons, Eric and (Desi) Johnson, and Aaron (Amanda) Johnson, Grandaughter Alexyss and Grandsons Derek and Michael.
Her brothers Britton (Doris) Jones and Griff (Kathy) Jones, David(Connie) Jones, Nieces, Heather (Guy) Comer, Holly (Mike) Carlson, and Alison (Liberty) Opulencia, Jessika Jones, Kyle (Sylvia) Jones, Brian (Kelly) Jones. Great Neices and Nephews: Britton, Bailey, Marissa, Brittni, Destiny, Anthony, Devin, Tyler, Zander, Dylan and Lily. Her high school friends Jonie Bushman, Gretchen Barber, and Tanya Strelkoff.
Preceded in death by her father Martin “Blackie” Jones, her mother Muriel Griffiths Jones and brother Robert Jones.