This is the story of Candice Lizanne Johnson. Candice was a wonderful woman that was loved, is missed, and will always be cherished. “The Mama” as she was called by her kids, “Candy” by her closest family and friends, “Grandma Candy” by her grandchildren, and “CJ” by her co-workers, customers, and best friend. She would in-turn call everybody “Honey.” Candy was an amazing mom and sister, she showed love by preparing fabulous feasts for the holidays, especially, when out-of-state family came to town.
Candy’s story starts on September 15, 1948 in Ann Arbor, MI, the oldest child of seven children to Owen and Eleanor (Strom) Johnson. When Candy was still little, Owen and Eleanor moved their family to Galena, IL then to Willowick, OH and eventually settled down in Cleveland Heights, OH, when Candy was 12 years old. In high school, Candy was a great dancer and would sneak out of the house to go dancing on the weekends to her father’s dismay. She is described by her siblings as a stand-in mother when their mom was ill and as a ‘protective guardian angel’ over them until she moved out on her own after high school.
In 1968, Candy chose the gift of life as she bravely gave her first born daughter up for adoption. Her daughter, Tracy, would later find our family and has been connected to us ever since in some way. Candy left Ohio and met Jerry Garcia, in Albuquerque, NM. It was love at first sight and they traveled to Seattle and to Las Vegas where she worked as a Black Jack Dealer at the Sahara Hotel and Casino. Her only son, Daniel Garcia and second daughter, Gloria Garcia Clark were born in Las Vegas. In 1975, her family of four moved to Los Angeles, CA where she fell in love with the ocean. She told her kids that the beach was her favorite place and that the sound of the waves was one of the most beautiful sounds in the world. Her last move was to Duncanville, Texas where she resided for 45 years. While in Duncanville, Candy would raise her two children almost all on her own. To know her was to love her, but you may not know how well versed she was on many different topics. She had a thirst for knowledge and read over 2000 books on philosophy, history, and religion among other things. Her ability to solve the extremely difficult New York Times Crossword Puzzle was uncanny.
She exemplified hard honest work. She would say, if something is to be done, do it right and do the best you can. She applied this to all aspects of her life and it is one of the greatest lessons she instilled in her children. Because of her work ethic, she could have been anything she wanted to be, but she found that being a waitress/server was most rewarding for her. As she was able to connect with her customers, they became her friends, and eventually like family. She worked up until the day of her stroke that sent her to the hospital. While she was recovering, one of her best customers said, “When CJ isn’t here, it’s like there are no lights on in this place.”
She was THAT illuminating and though her light has been extinguished on Earth, she will continue to shine in Heaven with the loved ones who cleared the path for her including her mother Eleanor, father Owen, and brother Geoffrey. Loved ones that will miss Candy are her three children: Tracy (and Mac) Quillin, Daniel Garcia, Gloria (and Bill) Clark; brothers and sisters: Sherry Johnson Harb, Shelley (and Al) Kronick, Rory Johnson, Russell (and Barbara) Johnson, and Valerie (and Kevin) Brooks; step-mom Beckie (and Jeff) Johnson Aldridge and half-siblings: Laura Johnson, Rick Johnson, and Zach (and Michelle) Johnson. Her light will live on through her loved ones including seven grandchildren: Dan, Teyler (and Seth), Trey, Alex, Katie, Bryson, and Caybree; and one great-granddaughter.
And so the story goes on until we see The Mama, Big Sister Candy, Grandma Candy, and CJ again.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hope Water International in memory of Candice Johnson at: https://www.hopewaterinternational.org/fundraisers/1506