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Zelda M. Johnson

January 15, 1953 ~ August 5, 2021 (age 68)

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Lorien Columbia resident, Zelda Johnson was born Zelda Mae Collins in Crisfield, Maryland on January 15, 1953, to the late Odessa Sutton and Wilson Collins.  

Shortly after birth, she became known as Zelda M. Brown, and was raised in Washington, DC, because care and upbringing were entrusted to her aunt, Agnes Sutton (Brown) of Crisfield, Maryland, affectionately known as “Midge”, and her husband, Ernest Brown of Ludowici, Georgia. Both became known to her as Mom and Dad.

Zelda was a graduating member of the Class of 1971, and this year celebrates their 50th class reunion. 

Zelda had several social interests which includes serving the Lord in fellowship as an active member the Salisbury Evangelistic Church of Deliverance under the spiritual guidance of Apostle Margaret Johnson serving on the Usher Board and Pastor’s Aide Committee.  Zelda’s social networking includes being on local committees, such as the Crisfield Woodson Alumni and other worthy organizations. She was a favored vendor up and down the East coast selling her goods from the eastern shores of Maryland, Virginia, and the entire Delmarva area as she also taught others interested in learning or perfecting their craft.

Zelda worked for several industries; however, her longest employment was as a trailblazing entrepreneur.  She’s widely known for being the town’s seamstress creating and sewing original designs as well as creating self-made home decor and jewelry. Zelda was the ultimate artisan!! Give her a bolt of fabric, a sewing machine, serger yarn, thread, beads, paint, glue, needles, a kiln, wax, crayons, scissors, and she would create a “Zelda Original”. 

She was nominated and won the “Beautiful and Positive Aging” award by BrightStar Care. She was nominated by team member Michele Brannock because Zelda volunteered her time to assist others by using her talent as an artist and craftswoman to spread joy and positive influence in the facility. Brightstar is featuring her on social media and in a magazine article in which she also won a photo shoot that includes hair and makeup. If that wasn’t enough, Zelda also received a bouquet of flowers and a photo frame! Congratulations on this well-deserved award, Zelda! We are so proud of you.

Zelda returned to Crisfield and gave birth to two children from her union with Robert K. Anderson, Robert Keith Brown, and Lakeisah Lynn Brown. She married the late James Ellsworth Ward affectionately known as “Sneaky Pete,” where she became best known in Crisfield as Zelda M. Ward. Later in life, she married her teen crush, the late Stanley O. Johnson, who proceeded her in death on November 14, 2015. 

As a resident of the Lorien Columbia senior living community, Zelda exemplified what it takes to live life with a beauty that inspires everyone around her: kindness, humility, empathy and caring. She was an avid crafter who enjoyed needlepoint, hand-made quilting, coloring, and making jewelry.  She invited others to join these activities so they could experience the same joy through creativity and companionship.

Mrs. Johnson shared her philosophy with residents frequently to encourage them. She used to say, “Never sit still. Just keep moving, even when you think you can’t.” She enjoyed shopping with her daughter, who lives locally, and staying in touch with her son, who lives in North Carolina. She’s built close friendships at Lorien, where they look out for one another, picked up items at the store for each other, and lend a hand with difficult tasks. Mrs. Johnson believed in helping people whenever you could.

Zelda will be deeply missed by all those who knew and loved her.

She leaves to celebrate her legacy her children: Robert (Janet)  Keith Brown of North Carolina, and  Lakeisah Lynn Brown of Maryland; grandchildren: Marcellus D. (Chrystal) Bivens, Jerome (Alexia) Martin Jr., Robert K. (Rachel) Brown, Jr., Briana Martin, Damien Brown, Diamonique Brown, Denise Brown, Jabari Martin, Raaziq Martin, Katina Brown, Erica Denny, and Jamir Epps; great grandchildren: Nassir Bivens, NeMera Bivens, Judah Martin, Reyna Martin, Jonah Martin, Sarah Martin, Gabriel Brown, and Carter Brown; siblings: Armand Best, Barbara Hachandi; Lola Ward, Raymond (Tommie) Mapp, Jr., Myron Brown, Michael Brown, and Marsha Brown; sister-in-law: Charmaine Collins; a former son-in-law: Jerome Martin; and a host of nieces and nephews, other extended relatives and friends.

In addition to her four parents and late husbands, her brothers: Prophet Robert Best, Sr., Daniel Collins; brother-in-law: Edward “Brad” Ward; sisters-in-law: Agatha Best and Lynn Brown, all preceded Zelda in death.

Lovingly Submitted by the Family


Psalms 91:11

11. For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.  (KJV)


Note: Jolley Memorial Chapel, P.A. will comply with the COVID-19 rules regarding masks and safe social distancing. Therefore, anyone attending the viewing and/or funeral services must wear a mask.


The funeral service will be live-streamed -Jolley Memorial Chapel PA, FACEBOOK page: (Please copy address into browser)



Public Viewing
August 21, 2021

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Richard A. Henson
30690 University Boulevard South
Princess Anne, MD 21853

Funeral Service
August 21, 2021

12:00 PM
Richard A. Henson
30690 University Boulevard South
Princess Anne, MD 21853

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