Cover photo for Patricia Johnson's Obituary
Patricia Johnson Profile Photo

Patricia Johnson

b. February 28, 1931

PATRICIA ANN ROBBINS JOHNSON, a respected scientist and beloved teacher, who specialized in obesity, molecular and cellular research, died from complications of a serious fall. She was surrounded by her loving family. She was 87 years old. She has been a resident of Davis, California since 1989 although she spent 8 years in Santa Cruz, California and 4 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Prior to her time in California she was a resident of Poughkeepsie, NY for over 25 years.

Pat was born in Waco, Texas where she graduated from Waco public schools and then was awarded both a B.S. ’52 and M.S. ‘54 in biological sciences from Baylor University. Pat taught high school science in Texas for several years before continuing her education.

She received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1966 in Nutritional Biochemistry. She accepted an entry level faculty position at Vassar College in 1964. She was a member of the Vassar faculty for 26 years where she taught 1000’s of biology students, conducted research funded by NIH grants and published many articles, was promoted to full Professor, was awarded the Keenan endowed chair in biology, became department chair and subsequently the Associate Dean of the College. She also held an appointment as an Adjunct Professor, at The Rockefeller University in NYC.

She moved to the University of California, Davis in 1990 where she served for over 10 years as an Adjunct Professor of Nutrition, conducted well-funded and well cited research in collaboration with several graduate students and a number of her Davis colleagues. She also taught introductory biology to many UC Davis students and gastrointestinal physiology to advanced students, many of whom have gone on to graduate and medical school. Upon her retirement Pat developed her love of bridge and became a life master, attaining bronze status. In Santa Cruz she was very active in the bridge club and thoroughly enjoyed all of the many friends she made playing bridge and interacting with new friends at UC Santa Cruz.

She continued her love of bridge while in Hawaii, making numerous new friends and playing duplicate bridge nearly daily.

Although she derived great satisfaction from her career, its associated travel adventures, her bridge games, and many students, her greatest joys came from watching her family’s successes. She was particularly enjoying the antics of her Face Timing great grandchildren. Her children and her life partner were grateful to spend much of her last weeks with her at her home in Davis under the care of UCDMC hospice.

Pat was adored by so many family and friends of all kinds. As a biologist, she was a lover of life, large and small. She cultivated many friends, touched many lives in a special way that embraced love, understanding and pure joy.

She is survived by M.R.C. Greenwood her partner and spouse of 54 years, her former spouse, J. W. Johnson, their children, and their spouses: Katherine Leigh Johnson Huttel, (Kenneth), Jeri Anne Johnson Horn (Stephen), James Robert Greenwood (Michelle), their children, Margo Fergusson, Lauren Huttel, Greenwood Horn, Brooks Horn, Seanne Perkins, Davis Greenwood, and Dillon  Greenwood. In addition, there are ten great-grandchildren, Wellin, Danica, Mareena, and Nadia Fergusson, Madison, Macy and Greenwood Horn Jr., and Aidan, Chandler, and Thoren Perkins.

Pat was preceded in death by her father, Thomas Richard Robbins, her mother Elsie Lee Brooks, and step-mother Myrtle Brooks.

If you wish to donate in her memory, please support the Patricia Robbins Johnson scholarship at UC Santa Cruz Foundation, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064,

UCDavis Health System Hospice Memorial Fund  or the Cancer Center at the University of Hawaii  Foundation , 244 Dole St., Honolulu, HI 96822.

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


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