Esther Mae was affectionately known as 'Mama' and made friends wherever she traveled. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA to a WWII Navy Veteran, James Johnson Jr. of Oklahoma, and a Homemaker, Josie Ben (formerly Roach) of Mississippi. Motherless at age 12, her father, James, relied on Esther's Grandmother: Agnes Watson (formerly Johnson), and affectionately known as 'Go-Go', to help rear his young daughter. James would later remarry, and as a teen, Esther would become a Pianist and aspire to be a Nurse while being raised at 12932 S. Stanford Ave., alongside her siblings: Carol, David, and Thomas, affectionately known as 'Butchy'.
Esther three-times believed in the sanctity of marriage, but together with Arthur Lee Thompson of Mobile, AL raised (5) children: Lawrence; Cheryl-Ann; Robert a.k.a 'J.J.', Audrey alias Bianca; and ‘Kim’ short-hand for Kemyetta on 6451 S. Cimarron St; and 303 E. 142nd St in Los Angeles, CA. Throughout the 1980’s and 90's Esther would become known as 'Grannygran' as she helped raise her children's children at the 'Big-House' on 2527 MacFarlane Dr. in Lancaster, CA. Esther would become widowed with the passing of her Husband, Arthur Lee who was affectionately known as 'Tramp' or 'Papa' amongst friends & family. Soon after, Esther would become fatherless with the loss of James Johnson, affectionately known as 'Granddaddy'. However, Grannygran would persevere, remarry, and become widowed again to a Theodore Reid affectionately known as 'Teddy'. During this time, Esther would simultaneously help to rear her grandchildren and great-grandchildren throughout the 2000's and into the present.
Some fun-facts about Esther Mae that you probably didn't know include these exploits: she once rode with the infamous Chosen Few MC; she frequently street-raced a Tomato-orange Dodge R/T Charger, that had a big-block 440 Magnum. She operated a casino from her garage; and was renowned for her Gumbo, Banana-pudding, and Stuffed peppers. Also, Grannygran loved tacos, cards, salt & cigarettes . . . and would send any of us after them. She earned a living through entrepreneurship, working for Lockheed Martin, and cleaning banks at night. She demanded loyalty from family, her favorite color was purple, and she touted herself as a 'High-Roller' frequenting the Las Vegas Strip. She was a Believer and her favorite Bible saying was from Psalms 37. Esther could throw one hell-of-a party, by being the life of the party, as she celebrated others. Her very best friend, of many years was named Shirley-Wade. Additionally, her very best cousin’s name is Charlie Johnson of Maryland. Grannygran hated to lose at anything and loved playing Spades. If you asked her, "How do you feel?" she would reply, "With my hands."
Esther Mae welcomed all in her presence with jokes and laughter but was not opposed to chastisement and/or corporal punishment. She did not care if you were black or white, rather, that the money was green. She was big on cleanliness and earning your keep. She was fond of long-hair and Chuck Berry. Over the generations she was companioned by her dogs: ‘Snoopy’; ‘P-company’; and ‘Josie’. She was proud of her burgundy Benz and a canary-yellow Seville. She fought for every inch by overcoming addiction, a stroke, brain surgery and many losses from friends and family.
She is our matriarch. Remember her so! She leaves behind five children, fifty-something grandchildren, twenty-or-so great-grandchildren, a great-greatgrandchild, several in-laws, and a whole host of friends and extended family. Esther Mae’s next of kin is her eldest son, Lawrence. She is twice widowed and is preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, two siblings, and two grandchildren.
You will always be revered! Farewell and we’ll miss you!