According to Today, Johnnie Crawford, affectionately known as “Ms. Johnnie,” passed away at the age of 94.
She was a beloved greeter at Dollywood, and her family says she never missed a day of work in her 32 years at the theme park in Pigeon Forge.
She spent most of her time at the Chasing Rainbows Museum, which tells Dolly Parton’s rags-to-riches life story, and had worked there since the very first day the park opened its doors in 1986. In fact, each time Dolly visited the park, Ms. Johnnie would joke that they both started their jobs there at the same time.
Officials from Dollywood say that Ms. Johnnie was someone who all the other employees looked up to, and they always made sure to stop by and see her for a few minutes every chance they got:
“She often said her favorite part of the job was being able to meet so many different people and learn about them.
It was a common sight to see her fellow Dollywood hosts stopping by to say hello and enjoy time with her.”
Back in 2017, Ms. Johnnie opened up about her time working at Dollywood:
“I remember it just like it was yesterday. When I hired in, the guy asked me ‘how long you think you’re going to work Johnnie?’ and I said probably 10 years because I was older at the time, and he said ‘you need to stay longer than 10 years and I said ‘well I’ll try.'”
Dolly seems like she would be the coolest boss in the world, and Ms. Johnnie says that’s because she always treated them with respect and remembered exactly who they were… which is pretty impressive, considering how many people Dolly has working for her:
“It seems like (Dolly) recognizes us. ‘Oh, you’re still here?’ she’ll say. ‘Yeah, I’m still here, Dolly. I’m gonna stay as long as long as you are!'”
Ms. Johnnie’s obituary says that she grew up during the Great Depression, and had an incredible work ethic her entire life, which is obvious in that she never missed a day of work at Dollywood in 32 years:
“Johnnie grew up during the Great Depression and learned how to survive on very little. She was tough and gentle. She would wake up at 4:30 every morning and walk her dog Gypsie.
She loved to work, stayed happy and ate what she wanted, including tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches. She will be missed by so many.”
They just don’t make people like her anymore. RIP Ms. Johnnie.