Natalia Emelia <I>Brouwer</I> Johnston

Natalia Emelia Brouwer Johnston

Panama City, Panamá, Panama
Death 16 Oct 1954 (aged 57)
Corry, Erie County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Corry, Erie County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 15413778 · View Source
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Natalia Emelia Brouwer Johnston was born in Panama City, Panama, the fifth of six surviving children. Her father was of Dutch German descent and was born in Curazao near the St. Thomas Islands (then belonging to the Netherlands.) He worked as an accountant at a high end men's clothing store. Later he was independent, working mostly for Jewish businesmen Her mother, a woman of Hispanic descent, was born in Colombia. She was educated in a Catholic girl's school in Panama. She was half Hispanic / half Dutch with red hair and fair skin and grew to be 5' 5" tall. In school she enjoyed embroidery, an interest that carried on to adulthood. She was an accomplished seamstress. During WWI she met U.S. Army soldier William Thomas Johnston (nick name Johnny) at a Mason's dance. Chaperoned always though out courtship they soon married and lived for a brief time in Army housing in the Panama Canal Zone. William left the Army after his four year term was up and the couple moved to Pedro Miguel in the Canal Zone. First born child was Shirley Mary, a little over a year later she gave birth to her only son William George, three years later Ruth Natalia was born (1924), last born child was Norma Frances in 1926. In the early thirties the family moved to Balboa, CZ. During this time William was working in the dredging operations at the Canal, Natalia served as homemaker, being an excellent cook with an emphasis on nutrition (she was a fan of Physical Culture magazine.)

Natalia's siblings lived in Panama as well, two sisters and two brothers (George had died of alcoholism.) Juan (John) was admitted to the Palo Seco leper colony, having contacted the disease through a wet nurse. Jose Antonio (Tono)got involved in communism and was forced to flee Panama at one time, later in life he became a Panamanian Senator. Natalia's two sisters were Julia, who married Otis Parker, their union producing one child, Rose Mary and Carmen, who was an English teacher and never married. During WWII the family was investigated by the FBI as they thought they were German.

Annual vacations while living in Panama were usually to Spanish speaking countries such as Costa Rica and to the northern portions of Panama. The entire family made one trip to the States around 1930 so that William could earn his Master Mates and Pilots certification, Natalia and the children stayed with William's sister in Corry, Pennsylvania while he attended classes in New York. William worked the tugboats and eventually operated an auto ferryboat for crossing the canal near where the Thatcher Bridge was to be built (later renamed the Bridge of the Americas.) Natalia's children all graduated from college and moved to the U.S. during the 1950's. William retired at 55 years of age and he and Natalia moved to William's hometown of Corry, Pennsylvania. Soon after the move, Natalia, who did not want to leave Panama, suffered a stroke possibly brought on from a reaction to medication used in her recent dental surgery. Within days she passed away and was interned at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Corry.

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  • Created by: Tom Rose
  • Added: 18 Aug 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 15413778
  • Tom Rose
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Natalia Emelia Brouwer Johnston (31 Dec 1896–16 Oct 1954), Find a Grave Memorial no. 15413778, citing Pine Grove Cemetery, Corry, Erie County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Tom Rose (contributor 46856178) .