Palma DeBaggis Johnson
Palma Ann DeBaggis Johnson, born in Franklin, Massachusetts on November 23, 1918, was a beloved teacher in the Franklin school system. She taught Latin at Franklin High School from 1939 to 1944, took a break from teaching to raise her five children, and then returned to teach at the elementary school level at Redland Park Kindergarten and Kennedy Elementary School. In 1974, she inspired her second graders at Kennedy to petition the State Legislature to make the ladybug the State Bug of Massachusetts and they succeeded.
Johnson was a familiar face in the community. She volunteered at 7am mass at St. Mary’s Church everyday and organized many events for the church as a volunteer office worker. She also volunteered at both the Senior Center and Library and was a member of St. Mary’s Women’s Club, a dispatcher for FISH of Franklin, and a driver for Meals on Wheels. During World War II, she was a member of the Franklin Women’s Ambulance Brigade.
Palma Johnson died after being hit by a truck on her way to church on December 11, 2008 and is buried alongside her husband, Cornelius “Fran” Johnson, in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Franklin.