Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Chris Johnson, printer, artist, feminist leader, dies

This article shared 6923 times since Sat Jan 24, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Christine Johnson, a former Chicagoan who played a key role in the early Women-in-Print and women in trades movements locally and nationally, died Jan. 23 of complications from cancer. She was 63.

Johnson and Nancy Poore were married in Canada in February 2007, their anniversary. This February would have marked their 34th year together. Johnson, originally from Cincinnati, was a co-founder, in the 1970s, of Metis Press, publisher of lesbian-feminist literature, and a founding member of the national Women-in-Print network.

As a blue-collar lesbian construction machinist, Johnson was a pioneer in opening up exclusively male, high-paying union blue-collar jobs to women and minorities, and was a board member of Chicago Women in the Trades.

Other affiliations include founding membership in the U.S. Alliance of Lesbian & Feminist Printers, Feminists in Alternative Business, and as a collective member of Black Maria, a Journal of Feminist Literature. In 1979, she co-authored A Book of One's Own Guide to Self-Publishing, under the name Christine Leslie.

Johnson played softball, basketball, and other team sports in the Chicago area, including in the gay sports leagues, and especially loved outdoor activity such as kayaking, camping, and hiking. She was also musical, and played guitar.

After she and Poore moved to Michigan, Johnson ran the Running Rivers Kayak Rental in Douglas. The couple ran a vacation rental cottage, and Johnson created art and continued her interest in publishing. She compiled her late mother Helen Ruth Johnson's writing and award-winning photographs into a book, The Farm Story: A South Dakota Memoir, in 2011. In 2012, Chris Johnson's illustrations were used in the children's book The Rock and Me, Immediately. Johnson also worked as a Medicare consultant for Humana.

Most recently, she began to develop talent for fused glasswork, which has been featured at galleries and events.

Poore, a retired editor, regards hers and Johnson's shared love of printing and typography as essential to the mix of interests and commitments that enriched their 34 years together. They met at a bookstore party on February 14, 1981, and never stopped talking shop.

"Printing on offset and letterpress machines, Chris was as good at repairs as she was at beautiful design," Poore recalled. "Chris's generous heart, strong endurance, and amazing range of talents exemplify the qualities that made her so beloved and respected. Her superb sense of humor and matchless intelligence are among the daily delights I shall miss most. I have never ceased to be inspired by her example—and by the beautifully unique person she was. She inspires me still, and always will."

One longtime friend from her Chicago years, Chris Straayer, said that through the decades, "Chris's and my motto, always spoken with great gusto and humor, was: 'Instant Success!' This indicated an approach more than a conclusion because, although her amazing talent helped, Chris worked very hard for everything she got in life. Even more impressive is how hard she worked to help others. Instant generosity."

Lynn Hull worked with Johnson on various projects. She said: "Chris and I will never 'double dyke 'em' again at the Metropolitan Sanitary District—being there together was the only thing that saved our skins and helped us make it through five grueling years … . No more 'Wild Thymes' while producing [the book] Bernice, or designing solstice cards and printing them on Pearl, a Victorian cast-iron clamshell press. No more triumphs and tribulations at Chicago Women in Trades."

Marie J. Kuda also sent her memories of working with Johnson: "I first met Chris Johnson at one of the first Lesbian Writers' Conferences and wound up together at the iconic Women-in-Print Conference in Nebraska in 1976. She went on to organize subsequent conferences. Thereafter our paths crossed occasionally for varying amounts of time—we worked together at the De Paul University Library for four years in the 1980s. De Paul was just converting their catalog from cards to online and as I recall Chris was so diligent and put in so much time on the project that she got carpal tunnel syndrome and ended up in wrist brace.

"When Chris partnered with Nancy Poore, co-founder of letterpress work with Helaine Victoria Press, our mutual friend Pat LaBelle obtained a letterpress for Metis. When my partner of 23 years, Shirley Rissmann, bought a small house Chris came out and for the better part of a day ( without charge ) went over everything for us to prioritize the maintenance and repairs needed—by this time she had her contracting and rehab business underway. The last contact I had with her since I am in a nursing home was her aid to me in working through the mazes of Humana, a healthcare firm she worked for. Chris was a rare and versatile person who could always be relied on. I have lost a friend and advisor—she will be sorely missed."

Another of Johnson's long-time friends, Jeanne Baker, recalled their many camping and hiking trips, especially in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. "She loved nature, and really enjoyed being among the trees and wild flowers, walking long trails, and spending time with her friends," Baker said.

In addition to partner Nancy Poore, Johnson is survived by two sisters, Anne and Linda, and a brother, Mark. She also is missed by close friends, including Chris Straayer, Joyce Bolinger, Lavina Tomer, Jeanne Baker, Carol Pastor, Robin Hardy, Holly Smith, Cheryl Miller, Jean Albright, Tracy Baim, and Paul Baker.

Johnson is interviewed on the Chicago Gay History Project website, .

Donations can be made to the animal charity of your choice, the Chicago Women's Health Center, or preservation of the Smoky Mountains.

This article shared 6923 times since Sat Jan 24, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Affinity renews Burning Bowl tradition
On the afternoon of March 19, Affinity Community Services held Burning Bowl 2023 Renewal: And Still We Rise at the Pavilion at the Dan Ryan Woods. ...

Gay News

Center on Halsted to Honor Sen. Tammy Baldwin April 15, Human First Gala at The Geraghty
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Center on Halsted is pleased to announce that its inaugural Trailblazer Award will be presented to Senator Tammy Baldwin at its annual Human First Gala being held the evening of Saturday, April 15, in ...

Gay News

Navratilova says she is cancer-free
Legendary tennis figure Martina Navratilova said she is now cancer-free—four months after announcing she had been diagnosed with throat and breast cancer, ESPN reported. "As far as they know I'm cancer-free," Navratilova told Piers Morgan for ...

Gay News

PASSAGES: Visual artist, Chicago nightlife scene drag performer legend and hairdresser Jojo Baby
Visual artist, Chicago nightlife scene drag performer legend, doll-maker and hairdresser Jojo Baby died March 14 of liver, lung and stomach cancer. They were 51. Baby was born April 10, 1971, in Chicago and grew up ...

Gay News

Protest held outside New Life Covenant Church over alleged anti-LGBTQ practices
Now-former New Life Covenant Church parishioner Rosaly Andino, who is a lesbian, and her allies gathered across the street from the church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood March 12 to protest alleged anti-LGBTQ practices by Pastor David Marrero. ...

Gay News

LPAC expands board of directors, building on successful 2023 midterms
--From a press release - Washington, DC — LPAC, the national political organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ women and nonbinary people to public office, announced today that Liz Culley and Janelle Perez have joined its Board of Directors. LPAC is the ...

Gay News

World's first transgender MP passes away at 65
On March 6, Georgina Beyer—a pioneering New Zealand politician who, in 1999, became the world's first openly transgender member of Parliament—passed away at the age of 65. Beyer's friends said she died peacefully in hospice care, ...

Gay News

WORLD Kenyan group, Alan Emtage, trans anchor, Hershey campaign
The Kenyan Supreme Court allowed an LGBTQI+-rights group to register as a non-governmental organization, The Washington Blade reported. Ten years ago, Eric Gitari, the former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission ...

Gay News

Lightfoot concedes but other LGBTQ+ candidates make inroads
Incumbent Lori Lightfoot, the city's first Black lesbian mayor, conceded defeat the evening of Feb. 28, after a tumultuous term and a difficult election season, where she competed against eight challengers for her post. "I stand ...

Gay News

Singer Zolita zips through Chicago on a whirlwind tour
Zoe Montana Hoetzel has evolved into the multidimensional artist known as Zolita while cultivating a massive following. Her personality is multifaceted as well. She identifies as a lesbian, an activist and a witch, but she's also ...

Gay News

Passages: Longtime activist Achebe (Betty) Powell passes away
Veteran social justice organizer and educator Achebe (Betty) Powell passed away Feb. 21, according to multiple reports. Powell died of COVID-19 related complications at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Brooklyn, according to a Feb. 22 statement ...

Gay News

HRC condemns North Dakota House for latest "Slate of Hate" targeting trans, non-binary people
--From a press release - Bismarck, ND - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, denounced members of the North Dakota House for ...

Gay News

Hidden History: Pamela Bannos brings the life of 19th-century lesbian photographer to new audiences
Few people outside of New York may know about 19th-century photographer Alice Austen (1866-1952)—but author/historian/Northwestern University professor Pamela Bannos wants to change that. Bannos recently completed a podcast series about ...

Gay News

At 'FIRST(ISH)' Sight: Producer Ashley Flowers speaks on 'honest' representation
Ashley Flowers—a producer, co-creator and actor in the short film First(ish) Date, now in pre-production—wears many creative hats. She also has an extensive resume working with stage and film props as well; Flowers has been working ...

Gay News

ILGA-Europe report: 2022 was the deadliest year for anti-LGBTI violence
ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association)-Europe's "Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People in Europe and Central Asia"— announced Feb. 20 in Brussels, Belgium—reveals ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.