EAST ORANGE, NJ — On Saturday, October 24th, sad news spread that the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Community Liaison, and Former East Orange Fourth Ward Councilwoman, Florence Johnson passed away.
Florence Johnson, affectionately known as “FloJo”, was a well-known active and dedicated member of the East Orange and Newark communities. She was also known throughout the state of New Jersey for her work promoting the importance of history, arts, and culture.
With a flashy smile painted red, sparkling eyes, and a personality rooted in confidence, intelligence, culture, and kindness, FloJo would lean in and say, “Did you hear who is coming to the Orchestra this week?” Followed by an invitation to attend.
It was her infectious personality and commitment to the community that resulted in many awards of recognition being bestowed upon her:
In 2019, to celebrate her numerous deposits of service throughout East Orange, including her advocacy for senior housing, Former Councilwoman Johnson was honored as a “Hidden Figure” during the City's Women History Month Celebration.
On October 5, 2018, at Newark's NJPAC, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) celebrated “the joys of giving, diversity, and the state’s remarkable communities” during their Opening Night Celebration. There, FloJo was honored for her impeccable work as their Community Relations Liaison.
Over the course of the evening, NJSO President & CEO Gabriel van Aalst said of her, “Our opening gala is a true celebration of community, [Florence Johnson] is one of New Jersey’s finest influencers and a pillar of her respective community, [she has] fostered collaboration and inspired new audiences to experience the arts in our great state.” in evening's program she was described beautifully in writing: "Perhaps no one embodies the spirit of community more than Ms. Johnson, who has tirelessly devoted her life to promoting the arts to the greater Newark area.”
That night, in her acceptance speech, Florence said, “Of all the awards I have received over the past three decades, I value this special recognition the most. I am being honored for doing what I truly love—spreading the good news about our great symphony orchestra, a precious gem in our community. Music inspires us; it gives us hope for the future and joy in our hearts. We must all continue to keep this joyous spirit going throughout our great city of Newark and state of New Jersey.”
FloJo will be missed by all who were pleased to meet her acquaintance, and cherished for the indelible mark she has left on society.
Details of a memorial are still pending.
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