SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Beloved Springfield community leader Ronn Johnson passed away this weekend. Local leaders are sharing their memories and thoughts on the late Ronn Johnson.
Springfield State Representative Bud Williams had known Johnson most of his life and worked with him on many different projects over the years. Not only was Johnson a partner to Williams, he was a friend.
I’ve known him for many, many, many years and I’ve always found him a gentleman, very astute, with the common thread about him. He touched many lives.Bud Williams, State Representative
Ronn Johnson is remembered for his work in neighborhoods throughout the city of Springfield. The CEO of the Martin Luther King Family Services for nearly a decade, Johnson was among the most respected leaders. He was one of the founders and co-chairs of the Brianna Fund for Children with Physical Disabilities. Johnson also served as a member of the independent task force on the response to sexual abuse within the Diocese of Springfield.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno released a statement saying in part:
I am very sorry to hear about the passing of MLK Family Services President and CEO Ronn Johnson. He was taken away from all of us way too early.Domenic Sarno, Mayor of Springfield
Bishop William Byrne of the Springfield Diocese also saddened to learn of Johnson’s passing.
As a tireless leader, Ronn led the charge in many worthwhile initiatives, helping to improve the lives of countless youth and families.Bishop William Byrne, Diocese of Springfield
One of Johnson’s projects can be seen on Springfield’s Martin Luther King Junior Family Services building on Rutland Street. It’s a mural inspired by the death of George Floyd, paying tribute to unarmed people of color killed by police.
22News spoke with Johnson after the mural was completed in 2020.
I talked to the folks that came down from the hill towns, people who are coming from the suburbs, they see it on 22, and they wanted to see it in person. A subject of conversation, a very diverse group of people that have come through, not just folks from the neighborhood but it’s folks from across the city, and beyond that are coming down to view it.Ronn Johnson, CEO of Martin Luther King Family Services
The Greater Springfield community has lost a tremendous advocate as we mourn Ronn Johnson’s passing. As President and CEO of MLK Family Services, Ronn dedicated himself to making the lives of our community members better – whether it be through youth development programs, connecting families with support systems, or working to alleviate hunger. In addition, through the establishment of the Brianna Fund – a charity named after his daughter – Ronn worked to break down barriers for those living with disabilities. I’ve known Ronn for a long time and his impact on the city is far-reaching. Regardless of the title Ronn held throughout his life, his mission was simple and consistent – to provide help to those who need it. This is a sad time for our community and I extend my deepest condolences to his family and friends.Congressmen Neal