Lucille Johnson-Gillenwater

Lucille Johnson-Gillenwater, affectionately known as Cookie, passed away on Sunday, September 22, 2019.

Cookie was the matriarch of the family. She led with an iron fist, but yet a heart of gold, filled with compassion, and second chances. She had strong determination and was not afraid of the challenge. Any obstacles put upon her, she handled with strength, pride, and grace. A Matriarch like no other.

A true Bostonian, Cookie attended Sharon Public Schools and she later graduated from Girls High in Roxbury. Soon after, she graduated from Jewish Vocational School with a certificate in Bookkeeping. Later on, she received her Bachelors degree in Medical Transcription at the University of Pheonix. This queen was the oldest of six sisters and molded them into womanhood. This shaped her into the matriarch that we knew her to be. She was a trendsetter that led her own way while growing up in Mission.

In 1968, she had her first born, Sean Lance Gillenwater. In 1971, God blessed her a second time with her only daughter, Eugenia Renee Gillenwater. Cookie loved her dearly and her daughter stuck by her side until the very end.

After many years of being with her childhood sweetheart, Kirk Gillenwater, they were joined in marriage in 1973. They lived a glorious life until Kirk passed in 1993.

In her adult life, she excelled in her career, not only working for a phone company, but also for DuPont. She was a strong provider, proving this by raising her two kids and her grandchildren. Cookie’s heart was filled with so much love that even though her children were now adults with children of their own, she decided to take on the challenge of motherhood yet again. By taking on her late sister Denise J Ellis’ three children, Gary Allen Ellis, Tyrell Justin Ellis, and Trecell Phillis Ellis.

Cookie had great passion for many things. To name a “few,” hanging out with the girls, especially the “Mission Hill Divas!” She was an avid reader, loving Steven King and Macabre Series. Being a lover to travel, she traveled to almost all states in America, while being a member of the Elks. Lastly, she was a movie-enthusiast, she had her favorites, but she loved all genres. Both a wife and mother, she gained her love for cooking, which pushed her thrill for holiday spirit. This always brought her family closer together and her training in Boxing kept her family in line. 

Unfortunately, but true, she dealt with her first stint of heart failure in 1980. In 2001, her heart failure became a major disability in her life. She went on to suffer many hospitalizations and rehabilitations but she fought back diligently. She was a formidable opponent for her disease until she succumbed. Cookie fought hard, but God won in the end and called her home.

She was preceded in death by her mother Lucille Johnson, her father Ruben Johnson, her husband Kirk Gillenwater, Denise Ellis, Eileen Johnson, and her great grandson Jian Lee Langston Johnson.

She leaves to mourn, her two children (Gigi and Sean), her four granddaughters (Shaena, Tekhari, Khaleia and Aaliyah), her three sisters (Barbara, Ruby and Jackie), her three stepchildren (Gary, Tyrell, and Trecell) and a host of friends and cousins. Including her companion Vincent Physic, and her long time best friend (Anne Marie Johnson Oliver).

Visitation at Southern Baptist Church, 29 Winthrop Street, Roxbury, Saturday, October 5 at 10:00 am. Funeral service to follow at 11:00 am. Interment at Oak Lawn Cemetery, 427 Cummins Highway, Roslindale. Relatives and friends invited.