Annabelle Ruth Brice Johnston
Annabelle Ruth Brice Johnston passed away on June 26, 2021, after a two week hospital stay. Born December 3, 1929 at the beginning of the Great Depression. Annabelle was the oldest of the four children of Austin Brice and Louise Brown Brice. Both of her parents belonged to pioneer families who came to Arizona in the period following the Civil War. Growing up in the Coronado neighborhood in Phoenix, she attended Emerson Elementary and North High School, graduating at 16, right after the end of World War II. She was a proud Arizona Native.
Annabelle was always amazed at the changes she witnessed in her lifetime, from the historical events to the growth of technology to the incredible expansion and growth of Phoenix, she saw it all! The path of her own life mirrored the world she faced, always full of growth and change. She had seven children by the time she turned 28, and by age 35, she was a single mom doing the best she could. And that was pretty well indeed! She needed to grow into a strong, independent woman and she set about doing that very thing. After working a couple of clerical jobs, she went to work in accounting at the State Department of Education, where she remained until her retirement as a Senior Accounting Clerk, 25 years later.
Annabelle always loved her family above all else. She was the definition of a true matriarch, always there for whatever was needed from her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She loved living on her acreage in Rainbow Valley near Buckeye, AZ, where she enjoyed gardening, reading, having family into her home for holidays and potlucks, and enthusiastically following the Arizona Diamondbacks. In her younger years she also loved dancing, playing the piano, and crocheting. She boldly faced what life brought her way and we all loved her dearly.
Annabelle was predeceased by her youngest sister Barbara Mahaffey, and her beloved, youngest son, Randolph. She is survived by her siblings Robert Brice (Lee), and Mary Homes, along with her children, Kathleen Covey (Jeb), Leanne Fowler, Timothy Brookshire (Shelly), Melinda Brookshire, Christine Roadlander, and Stephanie Castillo, as well as 20 grandchildren, 40 great grandchildren, and 3 great-great grandchildren.
A celebration of Annabelle’s life will be announced at a later date. Donations to the Arizona Historical Society, in lieu of flowers, are appreciated.