Mrs. Johnson was born in Jamaica in 1885 and came to Halifax in 1929 with her British husband Ernest Johnson after working throughout the Americas as a telegrapher. Together they taught telegraphy in a wireless school in Halifax, until Ernest's death in 1959. During WWII, Mabel cared for returned wounded soldiers and then continued as a volunteer and instructor with the St. John Ambulance Brigade.
She was a talented artist and taught needlepoint in the adult education system and in long-term care homes. She was an active member of the Caribbean Association of Nova Scotia (CARANS), 1970-1990. In 1982, "Johnnie", as she was known by her friends, was awarded a Certificate for Outstanding Community Service by the City. Despite being faced with racism in Halifax, Johnson remained active and independent throughout her life. She took swimming lessons in her nineties and visited Jamaica in the years before her death in 1992 at the age of 106. See newsclippings, and personal recollections about Mrs. Johnson, provided by the Jamaican Cultural Association of Nova Scotia.