On July 23, 2021, the Bon Secours Richmond Health Care Foundation held a dedication event at the Bon Secours Center for Healthy Living Sarah Garland Jones Center. A tribute plaque is now displayed at the center reading “Myrtle Dumas Johnson (1926-2006).” It honors Myrtle Johnson’s unwavering faith in God, love of family, community service and business entrepreneurship.
Myrtle Dumas Johnson was a resident of the Church Hill neighborhood. She was also the founder and owner of Johnson’s Grill, a favorite spot in downtown Richmond for over 30 years. Myrtle first came to Richmond in 1949 where she married Floyd W. Johnson and raised four children. After her husband had a debilitating stroke, she opened Johnson’s Grill to earn a living and support her family.
Thomas N.P. Johnson III, a former member of our Richmond Health Care Foundation helped create this tribute. When Tom toured the Sarah Garland Jones Center prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, he was impressed by its mission and work. Tom was also a daily customer at Myrtle’s restaurant where he got to know her and her family. He enjoyed her cooking and appreciated her spirit as well as her community commitment.
Tom felt that a tribute plaque at the center was the perfect way to pay tribute to Myrtle, a businesswoman he greatly admired.
The Sarah Garland Jones Center, in the Richmond’s East End, is a site of health, hope and well-being through a variety of age-appropriate and subject-focused programs. The program offerings include hands-on cooking classes, nutrition information, group-based therapy sessions and wellness therapies for hypertension, diabetes and cardiac conditions.
After 30 years of running Johnson’s Grill, Mrs. Johnson retired to her East End home. During her retirement, she continued to deliver home-cooked meals to her shut-in neighbors.
The dedication plaque was supported through The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation anonymously by a sponsor in fond memory of Myrtle Dumas Johnson to recognize her legacy.