Karla S. Johnson, 63, of Carlisle passed away from pancreatic cancer at her home on February 3rd, surrounded by her family.
She was a loving wife, mother, sister, and friend, a talented architect and business woman, and an avid knitter, reader, and gardener. She shared her skills freely with her community, providing architecture design and project planning expertise to her town and historic meetinghouse and supporting young women as they began and developed their careers.
Karla was raised in Wichita, Kansas, the daughter of M. Claradine (nee Trantham) Johnson and Warren Johnson. She graduated from the University of Nebraska where she earned a degree in architecture.
She and her husband of 37 years, J. Stewart Roberts, became friends in junior high school and after college their relationship grew along with their shared love of architecture.
After graduating from the University of Nebraska, Karla moved to Boston where she joined the Jung Brannen architecture firm. She later joined Leers Weinzapfel Associates where she received several design awards for her work on the Harold Donohue Federal Courthouse in Worcester.
As Karla's career blossomed, she and Stew moved to Carlisle where they began a family. Megan was born in 1985 and Hannah arrived two years later.
With a growing family and professional aspirations, Karla and Stew started their own architecture firm, Johnson Roberts Associates in Somerville. There, Karla established herself as a recognized expert in the design of interfaith sacred spaces. As the Principal Architect of the Tufts Interfaith Center, she won design awards from the Society of College and University Planners and the Boston Society of Architects. Working with her husband she was responsible for the design of the Additions and Renovation to the Concord Free Public Library as well as the Fowler Branch Library.
Karla was an active member of the Carlisle and Concord communities. She was the president of the Carlisle School Association and later served as the Co-Chair of the Concord Carlisle High School Building Committee, where she represented the town in the design phase of the new school building. She was instrumental in securing the positive vote to approve its funding. Her dedication to her community extended beyond education and included active membership of the First Religious Society .
Karla leaves behind her husband, J. Stewart Roberts of Carlisle; daughters, Megan of Cambridge and Hannah of New York, NY; her brother Keith Johnson, and his wife, Reisa Sperling, and their daughters Aubrey and Lyra, all of Brookline; and many beloved friends.
Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Karla on Saturday, February 13th at 2 p.m. at the First Religious Society in Carlisle, 27 School Street, Carlisle.
The family has established a scholarship in Karla's name for aspiring women in architecture.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the scholarship fund can be sent to:
Karla Johnson Scholarship Fund
c/o Johnson Roberts Associates Architects
15 Properzi Way
Somerville, MA 02143.