Dr Sarah A Johnson passed away peacefully at home in downtown Chicago, surrounded by her family, following a prolonged and private battle with cancer. She was a pillar in the field of medicine as a revered physician, as well as an inspirational mentor for innumerable students, residents, fellows, and colleagues. She had a fierce commitment to family, friends, and her patients. Her curiosity and ingenuity combined with own personal integrity, self-discipline, and tenacity were unparalleled.
Sally was born in Monmouth, Illinois on March 28th, 1941, to the late Mary and Raymond Johnson. She was the middle child of three siblings, leaving behind her older brother Stanley Johnson (Maureen Kilkenny) and younger brother Steven Johnson (the late Cheryl Johnson). Sally attended a one-room country schoolhouse at Muddy Corners, attended Kirkwood High School, and graduated from the University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana in 1962. She knew as a child she wanted to be a physician and realized this dream when attending medical school at the University of Illinois in Chicago and graduating in 1966. Not surprisingly, Sally excelled in medicine, was Chief Resident at Cook County Hospital in 1970, and by 1978, at only 36 years old, she was named the Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Loyola University Medical Center. She remained in that role for the next 18 years, prior to taking over as Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at Alexian Brothers Medical Center, a position she held for the subsequent 19 years. Sally garnered great respect from the medical community as a pioneer in percutaneous intervention and cardiovascular medicine performing some of the first balloon angioplasty, coronary artery, carotid, and abdominal aortic stenting. She was one of the first female interventional cardiologists in the country, if not the world.
In 1969 she married Dr. Henry Sullivan, her former intern at Cook County Hospital. She passed her love of medicine on to her son Dr. Ryan Sullivan and her daughter Dr. Theresa Sullivan. She is survived by her husband Henry, her children Ryan and Theresa (Niall McCrann), her grandchildren Henry Raymond (4), Ewan (11), Jack (14), and her dog Harry.
She will be remembered fondly for her elegance, endless passion for medicine, and her warmth and kindness to those closest to her. She threw magnificent parties, ran marathons, fixed delicious meals, and appeared to have endless energy for her true commitment of living her life to the very best and fullest. She loved fast cars, high heels, and a perfectly made ice-cold martini. She enjoyed the sun, the beach, her garden, and was adamant that she would always live near the water. She danced to the sounds of the Bee-Gees and Aretha Franklin, and Henry was her only partner for a any slow dance to Louis Armstrong. She adored her youngest grandson as he brought her endless joy over the last 4 years. Sally's absence will be felt by all those impacted by her unique commitment to life. Her dedication and love for her patients, friends, and family will be greatly missed.
A public visitation will be held on Friday, April 16th from 1 pm-6 pm in Lake Geneva Wisconsin, at Derrick Funeral Home, 800 Park Drive 53147. A private memorial will be held at a later date this summer. Sally asked that in lieu of flowers, all donations be made to the Peritoneal Research Fund, AHN Office of Development, 4818 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA15224 - please include her name on the donation/envelope or accompanying note.
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