Paula Christine Johnson, a Hyde Park fixture and the longtime operator of Divine Creators Natural beauty Salon alongside 55th Street, died on April 18 at the age of 68.
David Johnson, her younger brother, mentioned the trigger was lung cancer.
Paula was born on August 26, 1953, to Elbert and Dolores Johnson in Robbins, Illinois. A person of 11 siblings, she attended St. Benedict Elementary College in Blue Island and Calumet Substantial School in Auburn Gresham.
She was a practicing Catholic, initial at St. Peter Claver Church in Robbins and then at Saint Sabina, 1210 W. 78th Put, the place she remained a member for extra than 50 many years.
As a younger adult, during a time period when many of her buddies ended up currently being laid off, Paula became set on operating her personal enterprise. She started out splendor faculty in 1977, doing the job her way by way of salons on the South Aspect before landing a task as a beautician at Stylist Attractiveness Salon, 1637 E. 55th St., in 1987.
She took around the enterprise in 1991 and renamed it Divine Creators “because she required to pay back homage to God,” according to a take note from her family members.
“The location was really crucial to me, and Hyde Park has constantly been a group environment exactly where the individuals guidance the neighborhood,” she told the Herald in January, days soon after she shut her doors. “They supported the enterprises and, you know, they just preferred modest organizations to make it.”
Paula was happy of the truth that she became the to start with Black person to very own a business enterprise amongst Cornell Avenue and Hyde Park Boulevard. She cast shut relationships with the salon’s clientele — she was also fond of the 55th Avenue pedestrians, who would consistently cease and wave to her through the storefront window.
To clearly show her appreciation, Paula hosted an annual picnic in Harold Washington Park for her customers and the rest of the community. “I would offer all the sides and they could deliver their individual meat, and I experienced individuals to cook dinner it for them,” she claimed in January. “We performed all kinds of old-fashioned online games. And I also fed the homeless. Any one who wanted some food stuff, they have been able to consume.”
She lived for a even though in the South Loop, and beloved Lake Michigan, Navy Pier and driving her bicycle along the lakefront path. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, she started getting pc classes.
David Johnson, her brother, described her as a warm, generous particular person. (In January, Paula recalled the society shock she felt when she 1st moved to Chicago as a 13-yr-old in 1966. “When I arrived to the metropolis, folks had been so cold.”)
“She was a sweet particular person, often supplying foods to homeless folks,” he mentioned. “She took all my outdated dresses when I missing a ton of fat and gave them to homeless men and women on Lawrence.
“Even in close proximity to her passing, we would get foodstuff over there and she’d say ‘Share the foods, everyone sample everybody’s dishes.’”
David Johnson said that Paula stored her health issues a magic formula. When she retired, she explained to other people, which include the Herald, that it was due to the fact her rheumatoid arthritis experienced worsened.
“We had been sort of suspecting a thing was mistaken, but we did not probe,” he stated. “Even her ideal good friend, she waited, due to the fact she did not want her to be heartbroken and cry around it.”
“She constantly experienced an incredible quantity of religion, and it was just unbelievable,” he stated. “People walked earlier her window and waved. People will stroll by and discover out she no longer owns it and be astonished.”
Paula Johnson is survived by her son, Turan two sisters, Victoria and Marva 5 brothers and 3 sisters-in-law, Kenneth (Sabrina), Elbert (Verna), Paul (Valerie), Harold, and David expensive good friends — Yvonne Jeffries, Eve Boston, Norma Jean Berry, and Zenobia Brandy — and a host of devoted nieces, nephews and cousins.
She is preceded in loss of life by her parents and her siblings Marie, Regina and Stephen.
A viewing will take spot on Thursday, April 28, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Travis Funeral Household, 14338 S. Indiana Ave.
The visitation will be Friday, April 29, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. at Saint Sabina, 1210 W. 78th Area, with a services to comply with from 11 a.m. – noon.