Unification News for November 1998
In Memoriam Giusi Johnson
Our dear sister, Giusi Johnson, passed away on October 5th, 1998, at home in Ossining, NY, after a long struggle with breast cancer.
She was born on July 19, 1953, in Bergamo, Italy, and joined the church November 5, 1976. She was Blessed to Mark Johnson at Madison Square Garden on July 1, 1982. They have three sons: Danu, Andrew and Gabriel.
On Wednesday October 7, 1998 the Westchester/Rockland Family Church offered the Seung Hwa Ceremony for Giusi. Over 250 members, family and guests attended the service held at the Edwards-Dowde Funeral Home in Dobbs Ferry, NY, a few miles from Belvedere.
Mr. John Hessel offered the invocation. Mr. Teruaki Nakai, Mr. Kent Trabing, Mrs. Catherine Nelson and husband Mark Johnson offered the testimonies. Everyone agreed that Giusi was a motherly saint that gave God's Love, respect, humility loyality and other noble qualities to each person that she met. Mark's testimony accented the deeper and more intimate relationship between husband and wife.
Mrs. Susan Bouchari offered the Seung Hwa address sharing her heart as a close friend and younger sister to Giusi and the family. Daryl M. Clarke, pastor, was the MC and offered the reading of the biography, A Portrait of a Mother.
In attendence was Giusi's brother Franco, his wife Rosa and Mark's sister Judy.
It was a very beatiful and joyful ceremony that was full of tears and special memories of a life well lived. Giusi is considered a saint by all who knew her.
The Won Jun Ceremony was just as beautiful and peaceful. Our brother Mr. Eric Erstling offered the address. He has a way of making everyone feel relaxed in an uncomfortable situation.
Collectively, all members sent Giusi off with a happy and grateful heart. It was our blessing to have been touched by the presence of Giusi Johnson. Her mission and dweeling in the spirit world will continue to bring joy and liberation to Heavenly Father and True Parents.
Daryl M. Clarke
Her Seung-Hwa was held in Dobbs Ferry on October 7. These are two of the testimonies that were given there.
My Friend Giusi
Itís always an honor to be able to write some words about a friend. Itís an exercise of the heart which we should pursue, whether or not we are asked.
Giusi was blessed by God, because God liked Giusi so much. I think God liked Giusi because she liked God so much in a very natural way. Giusi loved God, Jesus and True Parents and felt close to them. This gave her lots of energy, as evidenced by her take-charge personality and desire to always be where the action was. She loved all of the sales people and wanted to take good care of them. I remember visiting her about one month ago and she confessed that one of the most trying aspects of her illness was being away from the salespeople and those in the office. "Tell everyone how much I miss them," she requested. One often hears the cliché, "When you go to the spiritual world, you wonít wish that you could have done just a little more work in the office." Well, I think with Giusi, she was an exception.
Giusi was competent, coming from northern Italy, close to Milan. I have visited there on business several times, and know this region is one of the most productive business centers in the world, and the people there are very intelligent, highly efficient and of a good and kind heart. Most capable people are picky about what type of work they can do. I can do this well, but donít ask me to do that. Others are willing to do anything, but are not actually able to do many things well. Giusi was one of those rare people who was competent to do many different tasks, and always willing to do anything.
In the case of our office, one of Giusiís most valuable functions was listening to people. Anyone who worked around her knows two of her favorite listening words: "Thatís right...thatís right...oh...thatís right...." Once I was ranting on about a particularly frustrating dilemma and she was listening to me will full intensity saying "Thatís right." After several minutes, I looked at her and said, "Giusi, if you were listening to the party on the other side of this situation, youíd be saying the same thing." She looked at me and smiled: "Thatís right!"
Giusi could listen because she cared about people and respected them. I first encountered her over the phone, when I was managing a division in California. I would call in to headquarters and she would answer the phone. If the person I asked to speak to wasnít available, then she would say, "Well, go ahead and tell me, Mr. Trabing, because Iím the one who will take care of it, anyway." I said, "Giusi, you donít need to say ĎMr. Trabing.í Nobody out here calls me that, because thatís what California is like." "Well," she told me, "Iím going to say, ĎMr. Trabingí." In this way, she insisted on lifting others up.
As you have heard, Giusiís heart was big. She could listen to salespeople for a long time. When she was asked to levy penalties on those salespeople who didnít report on time, she always took it on herself to call them up personally to get their reports, so they would avert the penalty.
Humor was one of Giusiís gifts. Even just a few days ago, I visited her. Mark told me that I could go in and see if she was awake. I went in, and she opened her eyes a little. This energetic, take-charge mother figure for so many, many people now could hardly move. "Come sit down over here, Kent," she whispered. I came by her bedside close to her. But it was a hospital bed with the steel railings on the side, so I couldnít sit down. She slowly moved her hand over to the control switch, and pressed the button, lowering the steel bars, allowing me to sit down. "Kent," she whispered her trademark little chuckle, "I can still dominate the bed."
Giusiís energy, this life force she possessed, was such that you would not be aware that she was fighting a deadly disease. In fact, she wanted to and did go beyond herself. From witnessing at the shopping center in order to Bless 185 families, to taking care of my visiting parents this spring while my wife and I were away, to challenging the mountain at Chung Pyung Lake.
God has surely blessed Giusi and is happy with her life. We pray for her and her wonderful family-Mark and the boys, Danu, Andrew and Gabriel.
I first knew Giusi 15 years ago, when we worked together on MFT in Florida, then again from 1990, when our company moved to NY. She was office manager and I was her boss. However, I really felt our relationship was more like elder brother and sister.
Giusi worked about three years as a Florida MFT regional mother, around 15 years ago. At that time, I was the leader of the Florida MFT. MFTís schedule was very hard day after day, year after year. There were many young people around 20 years old and they had young peopleís problems. They were often spiritually down and struggling and had to work out their difficulties. Floridaís weather is hot all year. The sun is strong, burning our skin when we work outdoors, even in January.
There were many oriental members in the Florida MFT. Their faces were turning black, and their teeth were really white. Also, Florida is one of the best tourist areas, with beaches and amusement parks; there are many short-term visitors, especially young people. We received a lot of persecution. So, naturally, we needed somebody like a mother to receive our suffering, concerns, and also to listen to our good experiences. Giusi was the most qualified person for that kind of job.
She liked to take care of people and listen to them, suffering with them. She was like fresh air among the members, smiling all the time, with a big heart, and she accepted many kinds of problems from members. Everyone needed her and she ways always with them, like an Italian mama.
At that time, she had been in the U.S. just 4 or 5 years. She was not fluent in English, but she was popular among oriental members from Japan and the Philippines as well as Americans, Europeans and Africans. So many different kinds and races of people felt embraced by Giusiís character. If a member had some problem and went to see Giusi, I felt very confident in her care of them. Thatís why the Miami MFT atmosphere was always bright and had a high spirit.
Miami MFT had a special campaign during Valentineís Day, Easter and Motherís Day. I remember she worked very hard at a flower stand.
From 1992, I worked with Giusi at UVS, a specialty retail company. We operate kiosks in the malls, selling gift items in 30 locations throughout the year. We needed someone to communicate between the home office and salespeople. Giusi was naturally that kind of person, and became the home office mom. She took care of salespeople as her children.
She would listen to their problems and suffering. When they had trouble with the manager or home office, they would always call Giusi. So I always felt safe when Giusi was taking care of them. We always had a mom in the office.
Giusi had great sales and office management skills. When she had a gold jewelry kiosk to manage, it was one of the top nationwide. Also, when work was requested of her from various managers, including myself, in the home office, she finished it with efficiency and did a great job. Even in her home I could see her organizational ability. She had three sons, but her home was always neat and clean.
United Vision Sales has a couple of hundred employees. Every year, we choose an "employee of the year." She won in 1997. Peopleís comments about her were that she thinks of the group point of view, not just one company. She received a plaque, a gift, and a statement of respect from the president of our company at the managersí meeting. When she spoke, she said: "I always think of you and everyone as my family, so each person is like my elder or younger sister or brother."
Three weeks ago, I met Giusi. Her body had become much worse, because cancer entered her lungs and there was a lot of fluid there. She had a difficult time breathing and her body was always in pain. She knew she was dying.
I went to visit her and she told me, "Itís the best time to testify to my family as a good mother, because out of gratitude I want to smile all the time and show appreciation to God and my family even in pain."
Just three days before she died, I saw her one last time. She could move, just lying in bed; even with oxygen it was difficult to breathe. When I talked to her she was so tired she had to close her eyes, even after just one minute. Then she opened her eyes and said, "Mr. Nakai, please go down and eat dinner." She cared for other people more than herself, even at the end.
She is a good mother for her family, her company and everybody. From her we learned about serving others, caring for others more than herself, having a big heart which accepts everybody, and always appreciating God. Giusi, I pray for you to continue even more in the spiritual world. Thank you, Giusi.
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