NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – While the search for her suspected killer intensifies, funeral arrangements have been set for Debra Johnson.
Visitation for the TDOC Correctional Administrator will be Thursday, August 15 from 3 to 7 p.m. at 15th Avenue Baptist Church in Nashville. The church is located at 1203 9th Avenue North.
There will be a second visitation and funeral Friday at The Temple Church, located at 3810 Kings Lane. The visitation begins at 10 a.m. and the funeral starts at noon.
Johnson worked for TDOC for 38 years, most recently as the West Tennessee Correctional Administrator. She also worked for several years at the Tennessee Prison for Women. Colleagues remember her as a caring person who invested in the inmates’ lives.
“She was a phenomenal woman, a woman of integrity,” Gredonna Wilkerson.
Wilkerson says Johnson would eat lunch with the inmates, encourage them to better their lives and believed rehabilitation was possible.
“She was all about that program rehabilitate, everybody deserves a second chance. I heard her say that over and over again, ‘Everybody deserves a second chance in life,'” said Wilkerson.
Johnson had three children and seven grandchildren.
Her daughter, Dr. Shernaye Johnson, says her grief shifts from heartbreak to anger to confusion.
“We know how she was, so we don’t understand. I don’t understand why because she would have given him… anything.”
Mychal Austin, her son, said, “We’re coming to the realization that she’s just not going to be with us anymore and I just feel numb.”