Omaha woman who died after crash is remembered as friend to ‘creatures big and small’

October 5, 2018

An Omaha woman who was fatally injured in a two-vehicle crash is being remembered as a lover of animals and friend to all.

Heather A. Johnson, 51, died surrounded by family at the Nebraska Medical Center on Sept. 25, two days after being injured in a crash north of Glenwood, Iowa. A 33-year-old Omaha woman, Iris Gandara, also was fatally injured in the crash.

A funeral Mass for Johnson will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Mary Our Queen Catholic Church, 3405 S. 118th St.

“Everyone that met Heather wanted to be around her,” said Corey Johnson, her brother. “She was just so full of energy, life, and she loved to get to know other people.”

Heather Johnson grew up in Omaha, graduating from Westside High School in 1985. She received a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She worked as senior project coordinator at Total System Services, a credit card processor.

She also volunteered with a number of organizations, including the Nebraska Humane Society and Nebraska Wildlife Rehab Inc., her brother said.

“Heather cared for everyone and everything, all creatures big and small,” he said. “Her commitment stretched into every aspect of her life. From saving a baby raccoon to rescuing a mouse to releasing a turtle back into the wild on a beautiful evening just a couple weeks ago.”

The foundation of Johnson’s life was her “dozens and dozens of close friends across several circles and interests,” Corey Johnson said. “She was constantly on the go, dining out, attending cultural events, or making time for B horror movies.”

As godmother to Corey Johnson’s 5-year-old son, Hoyt, Heather Johnson found numerous ways to keep the child’s attention. They could be found visiting the Omaha Children’s Museum, snuggling for a nap poolside in Mexico or “running around like crazy” at a playground.

In addition to her brother, Johnson is survived by her mother, Laurie, and her sister, Carrie, both of Omaha.

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