This winter, White Bear Center for the Arts said goodbye to dear friend and board member Robbie (Roberta) Johnson. Robbie joined the Board of Directors in 2007, serving as Treasurer, Co-Vice Chair, and Chair over her many years. She brought with her 30 years of experience as an English teacher and a passion for building community.
When fellow board member Mary Gove joined the team, she noticed right away the dedication that Robbie brought to the board. When it came time to organize Heart 4 Art, WBCA’s annual fundraiser, Mary always hoped that she was on Robbie’s team. Every year Robbie’s competitive spirit would come out as she raced to fill as many seats at the fundraiser as possible. Famous for making elaborate outfit changes throughout the day, she brought a sense of joy to this special event.
With her background in English, Robbie was particularly passionate about writing, and championed WBCA’s annual high school writing contest, WriteNow. According to Emeritus Board Director Sue Ahlcrona, “She was a natural to take over the high school writers contest and she did it with tireless energy and enthusiasm for emerging young writers. It truly was what gave her that twinkle in her eye and such encouragement to these students.”
Utilizing her passion for writing, Robbie contributed articles to WBCA’s catalog during the organization’s 50th anniversary year, highlighting each decade of WBCA’s life. “I believe this would never have come to fruition without her leadership,” Sue said. This dedication to the community and her generous spirit endeared her to all. In the words of fellow board member Karen Kepple, “What a wonderful, creative, unstoppable energy she had. We’ll miss her.”