Dr. Marie – Louise Johnson | 1927 – 2022 | Obituary
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High Falls, NY – Dr. Marie-Louise Tully Johnson, 95, a pioneer in the field of dermatology and lifelong resident of High Falls, N.Y., passed away at her home on June 8 th , 2022. Dr. Johnson’s distinguished career in dermatology spanned sixty years. She was elected in 1981 as the first dermatologist to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences –Institute of Medicine; in 1995, the first woman to receive the Master Dermatologist Award by the American Academy of Dermatology; and in 2000, the first woman to be elected president of the American Dermatological Association.
Born Marie-Louise Tully on July 26, 1927 in Brooklyn, N.Y., the daughter of James Henry Tully and Mary Dobbins Tully, she was three years old when her parents purchased a farm in High Falls as a second home. At the age of thirteen she volunteered to serve at the Benedictine Hospital in Kingston, NY during World War II. From that point on, she vowed to study medicine.
Dr. Johnson was a graduate of Manhattanville College and recognized as one of its most distinguished alumnae. She graduated from the Yale School of Medicine in 1956 after earning her Ph.D. in microbiology two years earlier at Yale. She then became a professor of clinical dermatology at the Yale-New Haven Medical Center.
She met the love of her life, Dr. Kenneth Gerald Johnson, a cardiologist now retired, on her first day of classes in medical school. They were married in St. Saviour’s Church, Brooklyn, on June 10, 1950.
In 1964, she and her husband were recruited for the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission to study the medical effects on the survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dr. Johnson served as chief of dermatology for the program.
After Dr. Johnson finished her work in Japan in 1967, she became director of dermatology at New York University – Bellevue Hospital. Later, she and her husband moved to Dartmouth Medical School, where she trained Vietnam War medics at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in White River Junction, Vermont.
Dr. Johnson returned to her Hudson Valley roots in 1980 to become the director of medical education at the Benedictine Hospital in Kingston, NY. Recognizing the need for adequate training in the diagnosis and treatment of dermatological ailments, Dr. Johnson established a post-graduate training program in dermatology for board-certified physicians and physician assistants at the Mid-Hudson Family Health Institute. Thanks to her efforts, Dermatology Services of Kingston (DSK) established strong connections with the Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Johnson’s alma mater. Approved by the American Board of Family Medicine, DSK has operated since 2004. She retired from her 42-year practice in the spring of 2018.
Over the course of her career, Dr. Johnson traveled the globe to share her expertise and received numerous awards and citations, including the Marion Dasey Compassionate Physician Award; the Rose Hirschler Award; and the Clark W. Finnerud Award for clinical excellence in practice, teaching and research.
Dr. Johnson treated 100,000 patients from the local area suffering from various skin conditions. She formed life-long bonds with many of them and built a reputation among her medical peers as the model of compassionate physician, scientist, and humanist.
A devout Catholic, Dr. Johnson was a Eucharistic minister and lector at St. Peter’s Church in Rosendale. In 1994, she was awarded the Papal Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice by Pope John Paul II for her humanitarian work worldwide. She traveled to Rome annually in order to visit and care for her dear friend, Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the superior general of the Jesuit Order, whom she first met in Japan.
Among her many hobbies, Dr. Johnson enjoyed growing flowers and sharing them with her church, writing poetry, tending to her menagerie of canaries and writing sacred music.
Dr. Johnson is survived by her husband, Dr. Kenneth G., of High Falls, NY; her brothers, William D. Tully, of Chester, NJ, and Prof. Robert E. Tully of Salisbury Mills, NY; sisters-in-law, Eileen Conway Tully of Albany, NY; Jeannine Ryan Tully of High Falls, NY; and Anne Harrick Tully of Salisbury Mills, NY; and by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her brothers, James H. Tully Jr. of Albany and Martin F. Tully of High Falls, and by her sister-in-law, Judith Sheehan Tully, of Chester, NJ.
Funeral Mass will be 11 AM Tuesday June 14, 2022 at St Peter’s Church in Rosendale, NY. Interment will follow at St Peter’s Cemetery, Rosendale.
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