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February 19, 2013

Birmingham postal worker remembered as kind, caring

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

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Birmingham postal carrier Desma Johnson passed away Feb. 7 unexpectedly, leaving behind her 4-year-old daughter, Dillan.

BIRMINGHAM — Those who knew Desma Johnson say she was a caring, loving person and a devoted mother. In the blink of an eye, it was all gone.

Johnson, a resident of Detroit, had long been a familiar face in the Birmingham community as a mail carrier with the United States Postal Service. On Feb. 7, while chatting and sharing some laughs with a few coworkers, Johnson fell to the ground and died unexpectedly. She was 38 years old.

“They were thinking it was something with her heart, but we won’t know until the autopsy is done,” said Johnson’s cousin, Tracey Robinson, of Redford. “They said she didn’t suffer at all. It was instant.”

Katherine Paille worked with Johnson and was there when she passed away while preparing to go on their respective mail routes.

“We were loading our vehicles and there was maybe eight or nine of us outside at the time. It was out of nowhere,” said Paille. “She just kind of fainted. When she went down, she never got back up.”

Johnson is survived by her father, three sisters and two brothers. She also leaves behind her 4-year-old daughter, Dillan. According to Robinson, the two had shared a mother-daughter dance together at Dillan’s birthday party just a couple of weeks ago.

“She loved to travel with her family and have dinners and parties and stuff. She was a very people-person and very close to her family,” said Robinson.

Dillan will be cared for by her aunt, Lutrina Johnson, Desma’s youngest sister. Family and coworkers have joined together to establish a trust fund for Dillan to ensure she has everything she needs as she continues to grow up without her mother.

“She was really sweet. She had a very pretty smile. She was kind of quiet, but very, very caring. And she had a 4-year-old little girl who was truly the love of her life. I’m glad to know she’ll be taken care of,” said Nidia Lebron, of Warren. Lebron works at Thrifty Florist, at the corner of Maple and Adams Road, which was on Johnson’s route.

“She was a pleasant person. She had a good personality, and she totally cared about her job. She did her job well, and she was well-liked by everyone,” said Paille. “(When she died), it was out of nowhere. She was talking to another lady, and they were laughing about a ring. The last thing she did before she died was laugh.”

Contributions to the Dillan Johnson trust fund, care of Lutrina Johnson, can be made at any Chase Bank branch location.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.