The Truth Staff
“If anyone – man or woman – deserves to have a street named in her honor, it is Billie Johnson,” noted Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, speaking at just such a street naming on Friday, September 15. The former Garden Lake Boulevard, which leads into the senior center at the Area Office on Aging, was renamed Billie Johnson Way for the woman who retired this summer after serving for 46 years as CEO of the agency.
Dozens of family members, friends, elected officials, agency staff and board members and community leaders joined the mayor and Johnson for the event, the only city street to be named after a woman.
Johnson’s recent retirement has led to numerous acknowledgements and honors this year for the Area Office on Aging leader who began her tenure in an office of four employees. That office has grown to include a staff of 185 along with several thousand volunteers now serving more than 40,000 senior citizens in northwest Ohio.
Kapszukiewicz noted that numerous streets in Toledo are named after presidents or former mayors, all males, but this is a first. “We’re naming a street after a woman who was a trailblazer.”
The mayor’s words were echoed by Justin Moor, interim president of Area Office on Aging, who has been part of the staff for more than 20 years. “This is the gateway to the campus that she’s developed over the last several decades … it’s been my goal to do things the Billie Johnson way.”
Johnson herself was, as she always is, humble as she received the honor. “This is not Billie Johnson day; this is a day for the city of Toledo, the county of Lucas, northwestern Ohio and for all the women whose shoulders I have stood on.”