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1938 Patsy 2024

Patsy Evyonne Johns

November 17, 1938 — February 23, 2024

Evyonne Johns went to Heaven on Feb 23, 2024. She was preceded in death by her parents (Marvin and Cora McElwaney), siblings (Doris Peckenpaugh and Jack McElwaney) and loving husband of 60 years, Bill Johns. Survived by her sister Shirley Nichols. Children Will and Beth Johns (wife) and David and Vickie Johns (wife), Grandchildren (Will IV, Mallory, Andrew and Elise Johns).

Between the dash - A story about mom, from what her boys remember…

Mom was born in Atlanta Georgia on November 17, 1938, and was given the name Patsy Evyonne McElwaney. She was the second of four children born to Marvin and Cora McElwaney. Doris was the oldest, Shirley the second middle child, followed by Jack, who was the youngest sibling.

Her family spent their early years on a family farm in Fayetteville GA, surrounded by other small family farms in the area south of Atlanta. Life was full of great stories like being chased by chickens, hard work, great food, and plenty of mischievous childlike adventures. While life was great for the kids, it was hard on the adults in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Striving to improve the family’s quality of life, Marvin moved the family to Atlanta when mom was around 7 years old. There he found employment and eventually began working nights at the Nabisco Cookie Factory while Cora worked part time jobs and took care of the home and four active kids.

Mom shared many stories of her life growing up and among them were:

All the kids going to the candy factory where their mom, Cora, was working part time after school. They would sit across the street and watch her make candy through a big glass window. We always think of the Lucile Ball show where Lucy kept trying the wrap all the candy on the conveyor belt…but in Cora’s case, she had to do it while her kids were watching and while she was working and watching the kids.

When mom was around 10 years old. She loved everything about growing up in Atlanta and decided to take her little sister Shirley to downtown Atlanta without asking permission or telling anyone. They hopped on a bus and were gone from morning to late evening. Family and friends frantically looked for them both and feared the worst. They showed up back home and mom simply explained she wanted to see the big part of the city and knew they would be “just fine” and smiled…needless to say, her dad didn’t smile much and told her to go “out back” and select her own switch!

One of her favorite stories was when the sisters cooked biscuits for their dad with cotton in them. He dutifully ate them without complaint and the girls didn’t have the heart to reveal the joke.

Because there were three girls in the family and two working parents, the kids always had to pair up to watch and take care of one another. Kids being kids, her two sisters and little brother were constantly getting into trouble with other kids in the neighborhood. As innocent as it was, they always found a way to look out for one another. Even when they were old enough to date, it had to be a double date with a younger or older sibling. Wherever they went, one of their siblings had to join to help keep them accountable.

When mom was a teenager, she worked lots of part time jobs to help make money. One of her favorites was working at a movie theater with her older sister, Doris, where they loved seeing all the new shows and eating popcorn.

After High School she was not sure what to do next because higher education was new to her family. After some thought, she convinced her boyfriend to drive her to Young Harris college. She showed up sometime in mid-October (well into the semester), not having been admitted officially or even contacting them. All she had was a suitcase and a letter from her pastor who told her she would be a good teacher. They found her a room to stay in and a job to help pay for classes. She went on to be the first in her family to get a college degree!

After college she returned to Atlanta and it was there, she met Bill Johns who was volunteering at her church. It was a bit of a whirlwind relationship, and they got married on February 7, 1959, six weeks after he proposed. After getting married, Evyonne and Bill moved to Athens for his job at UGA working in the student Union. They had two boys, Will and David, and life soon became busy and exciting for the new family. They joined Beech Haven Baptist Church when it was a tiny little church on the Atlanta Highway and were members during its growth. Later they joined Green Acres Baptist church when the boys got a little older to be more involved and closer to where they lived. Evyonne started teaching in the day care at Green Acres Baptist. She soon moved over to teach at Athens Christian and then in the public school system mostly in Social Circle GA.

Mom was a very busy lady juggling between being a wife, homemaker, great mom, a teacher and volunteer. She always had a passion for teaching and art and loved sharing that with kids. Mom and Dad also loved to travel. When the children were young, they were brave enough to plan and execute two amazing summer adventures. The first was a 12-week trip. Coast to coast, covering 25+ states and 12,0000 miles. All while driving a Buick estate wagon, wrangling two energetic boys and towing a pop-up camper. Yep, they did the whole trip while camping and cooking and cleaning and all the joys that come from exploring the country almost like the early settlers did. They enjoyed the first trip so much they started planning and took a second long trip a few years later. They introduced exploration and the love of travel to their kids, who have carried on the tradition nationally and internationally.

Mom retired from teaching around the same time dad did so they could enjoy their later years together traveling. Their journeys took them all over Europe and many other countries. They both loved exploring different cultures and learning the area’s history from the locals. Their travels also involved mission work and included a mission trip to China for a few months. Aside from their travels they continued to grow as a couple spending time together at their small mountain cabin to enjoy the outdoors. They always tried to share the love and talents God gave them by volunteering more at Church, in civic groups, with youth programs at Cedar Shoals High School, and at the library. They also volunteered with the International Club in Athens helping share culture and teaching English to all the new folks coming to Athens from all over the world. The valued time with their boys and their grandchildren. The adventures of grandparenthood were a joy to them.

Bill passed away in the summer of 2018. They shared 60 years of marriage and mom carried on valiantly in the face of the loss. Covid followed quickly and it was a bit more isolating than anyone had hoped. The family adopted a rescue Yorkie named Princess for Evyonne to provide her with a companion. They became best buddies during the “Covid Experience”, each offering support and friendship to one another.

Evyonne moved to Highland Hills Village in the fall of 2022 to start a new chapter of her life where she could have more interaction and stimulation. There she met many new friends and experienced more adventures. She loved taking walks and admiring the beauty around her. Evyonne’s family was fortunate to be able to spend some long weekends and week-long vacations with her over the past few years. She treasured these times and would just sit back and smile as she watched the interactions between the family she loved so dearly.

Evyonne was a child of God and was a good Christian in every sense. She loved the Lord and served him well throughout her life. She left a beautiful impression of what a child of God should be on all who knew her. Evyonne loved her children and grandchildren and set a wonderful example for them of how to bring a little bit of Heaven down to earth!. Her family loved her dearly and will miss her more than words can express. She was a beautiful soul, and Heaven surely welcomed her joyously.

There will be a graveside service held on Friday, March 1, 2024 at 2:30PM at Evergreen Memorial Park. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2024 at 2:00PM at Green Acres Baptist Church.

In Lieu of flowers please donate to the scholarship fund we have on  Evyonne's name care of Green Acres Baptist Church.

Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, EAST, Athens, GA is in charge of arrangements

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Patsy Evyonne Johns, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Friday, March 1, 2024

Starts at 2:30 pm (Eastern time)

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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