EAST PEORIA — Renita Jean Johnson, 71, of East Peoria, died at 5 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, at her residence.
Born Oct. 28, 1940, in St. Louis, Mo., to James William and Beatrice Jessie Teel Cozean, she married Jerry L. Johnson in New York City on June 2, 1961, at Park Avenue Christian Church. He survives.
Also surviving are her mother of St. Louis, one daughter; Melanie K. (Vern) Harris of Twinsburg, Ohio; two sons, Joel D. (Leslie) Johnson of St. Louis and Sean C. Johnson of Peoria; three granddaughters; two grandsons; her brother, Ronald J. (Karen) Cozean of San Antonio, Texas; her sister, Belinda G. (Pete) Camarillo of St. Louis; and her sister-in-law, Judith A. Johnson of Washington.
She was preceded in death by her father.
Renita was a gifted prima ballerina who studied in St. Louis and with the Robert Joffrey Ballet Company and the American Ballet Theatre in New York City. She retired from professional theatre and returned to Peoria where she was an original member of the Peoria Civic Ballet under the direction of Jack Slater. She, along with her husband, performed with Peoria Players, Cornstock Theatre and Caterpillar Mixed Chorus.
Renita was employed by Key Industries of East Peoria as Manufacturing Manager for 25 years. She retired in 2002.
She dedicated many volunteer hours to the Peoria Zoo and the Forest Park Nature Center and was an active member of the RSVP. She was also a member of First United Methodist Church in Peoria.
There will be a memorial service for Renita at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory in Washington. There will be a visitation one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. The Rev. Ken Hogren will officiate. Cremation rites have been accorded.
Memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Association or to Methodist Hospice.
Renita's memorial website may be found at www.deitersfuneralhome.com where online condolences may also be sent to the family.