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December 08, 2023

Brenda Phoenix Johnson

Brenda Phoenix Johnson

Brenda Phoenix Johnson, 77, of Hickory, died Friday, July 9, 2021, following a period of declining health.

Brenda was born September 1, 1943, daughter of the late Fred and Helen Phoenix. She was a native of Burnsville but had made her home in the Hickory area since 1962.

Brenda was a licensed cosmetologist for more than 50 years and a licensed cosmetology instructor for more than 30. Many of her clients became wonderful, lifelong friends and she loved her ‘kids’ and teaching them the profession that she loved.

Her true life’s work, however, was caring for those around her. She was a devoted and loving friend, wife, mother, and ‘Maw-Granny’. She was most happy in her kitchen, making a delicious meal and one (or more) of her wonderful desserts for those she loved.

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her brother, Donald Maney, and her son-in-law, Jerry D. Browning.

Brenda is survived by her devoted husband, the love of her life, James Lowell Johnson; daughter, Donna Browning of Hickory; son, Doug Ramsey and wife Kim; grandson, Michael Starnes and wife Rebecca; granddaughter, Jenna Ramsey; and great-grandson, Christian Starnes, all of Taylorsville. She was blessed also with loving stepchildren Kay Weaver and husband Dennis of Vale; Karen Teague and friend Rick Carson of Taylorsville; and James Johnson and wife Toni of Hickory; seven step-grandchildren; and seven step-great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her ‘bonus sister’, Polly Young of Burnsville, and special cousins, Margaret Agee, Mike Bailey, Roscoe Bailey, and Tom Phoenix.

To give thanks to God and celebrate a life well-lived, family and friends will gather for worship Tuesday, July 13, 2021, at 2:00 p.m., at Friendship Lutheran Church, 5300 Church Road, in Taylorsville. Rev. Mary and Rev. Tim Canniff-Kuhn will preside. The family will gather with friends in the Family Life Center following the funeral.

Brenda loved animals, especially her cats. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Humane Society of Catawba County, PO Box 63, Hickory, NC 28603.

Online condolences may be sent to

Bass-Smith Funeral Home & Crematory in Hickory is serving the family of Brenda Johnson.

“How gladly would I wash out with my tears, every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot, I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.”
-Sullivan Ballou

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