Leading by Example
Duncan and Carolyn Johnson’s journey from teaching to healing
Duncan and Carolyn Johnson, longtime supporters of Providence St. Jude Medical Center, have had a serendipitous connection with the hospital dating back to 1968. When they first moved into their Fullerton home, they had no idea of the pivotal role it would have in their lives. Over the years, Providence St. Jude became more than the hospital that was “a mile south” of their home, it became intertwined with their family’s story.
UCLA sweethearts since 1956, both Duncan and Carolyn pursued careers in education that embraced their passion for learning and personal growth. Duncan’s career began with teaching at Paul Revere Junior High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District and advanced through leadership positions at Buena Park High School, Troy High School, Nicolas Junior High and ultimately serving as superintendent of Fullerton School District for the last 15 years of his career. Carolyn’s path took her from mathematician to administrator and as a school principal for Betsy Ross, Franklin and Stoddard Elementary Schools within the Anaheim Elementary School District.
Duncan’s involvement as an active volunteer for over 15 years highlights the couple’s deep connection to Providence St. Jude. He has contributed his time and expertise in various capacities, from being on the Institutional Review Board, leading the Volunteer Guild as president, coordinating the No One Dies Alone program and serving as a member of the foundation’s board of directors. Recently, the couple took a significant step in deepening their commitment to Providence St. Jude by establishing the Duncan and Carolyn Johnson Family Endowed Fund. The fund’s primary areas of support — autoimmune diseases, stroke and diabetes — stem from personal experiences that have shaped their philanthropic priorities. This endowed fund will provide rehabilitation education for caregivers treating patients facing similar health challenges.
The Johnsons were able to establish their gift by utilizing the qualified charitable distribution option, which enables supporters to donate directly from their individual retirement accounts to a qualified charity. The amount is excluded from taxable income and may help in meeting the required minimum distribution. Just as the Johnsons demonstrated, a legacy gift is a testament to the importance of clinical education and ensures the community has access to high-level care right in their backyard.
Duncan and Carolyn’s commitment to education and the well-being of others will undoubtedly touch the lives of countless individuals in the years to come — embodying the spirit of growth and resilience that defines their family. Providence St. Jude is profoundly grateful for their legacy of compassion that has left an enduring mark on the community.
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