Stephen Johnson

Memorial Service

11:00 am - 11:45 am
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home
43 Winn Street
Burlington, Massachusetts, United States

Obituary of Stephen Edward Johnson

Stephen Johnson of Somerville, Mass. passed away peacefully on May 21, 2023. He was 73 years of age and died from complications related to his diabetes that he had contended with for more than 25 years.

Stephen was born in Brockton, Mass. to Doris R. and Robert W. Johnson. For most of his life he lived with his mother and grandfather, John Kersey. He was baptized at the Lincoln Congregational church in Brockton. He attended and graduated Brockton High school in 1968. Through-out his Jr. High and High school years, Stephen was actively involved in either playing on the school basketball team or singing in the school's chorale group(s).

After graduating high school, he attended the University of Massachusetts in the downtown Boston area. He majored in Political Science. He later relocated and moved into Boston to attend school and to be exposed to the civil rights activities that were also underway in the city. Most of the work he did was with either with non-profit social service agencies like at the Boston Housing Authority or as a staff person with Mass. elected officials like former state Representative Doris Bunte or the late U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas. While being employed and successfully managing a homeless men's program for the City of Cambridge for 16 years Stephen retired in 2016. The program was called the Carey Program. He was devoted to the program and the uplift of its clients. Subsequently, as his diabetes worsened and his kidney disease became more severe, he learned in 2018 that that he would need a kidney transplant. He was placed on the Mass General Hospital's transplant list in 2018.

He met and got to know a range of very interesting people through-out his time in the Boston - Cambridge areas. It was in the mid 80's that he had the good fortune of initially meeting Ms. Karen Halaby of Somerville, Mass. who would change his life. Her warmth, love, kindness, and patience were a major part for their successful relationship.

They would later become partners in life for more than 40 years. Besides sharing a mutual interest in jazz & R&B music, theatre, restaurants, and gardening, they also did a fair amount of traveling together. They went on regular trips to Cape Cod and to Provincetown, Las Vegas, South Beach in Florida, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, and Canada. These experiences created a number of wonderful memories that they were blessed by and relished as a couple. In looking back, all of these enjoyable moments that they shared and loved doing together were only part of the reason that they had a successful relationship. The other was their simple and binding love that they had for each other over the years.

Stephen was the beloved life partner of Karen Halaby of 40 years. He also leaves behind many cousins and family members. Stephen was the cherished son of his late parents Doris and Robert Johnson.

A memorial service for Stephen will be held on Thursday, May 25, at 11 AM at the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn Street, Burlington, MA 01803. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, at

For online guestbook and tribute video, please visit


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