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Woman remembered fondly after Contoocook house fire

  • A woman, identified as Beverly Johnson, was found dead after a fire was reported on Pine Street in Contoocook on Monday night. Geoff Forester / Monitor staff

  • An investigator from the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s office (lower left) investigates the scene Tuesday, July 24, 2018, after a fire on Pine Street in Contoocook on Monday night. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • An investigator from the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s office (lower left) investigates the scene Tuesday after a fire on Pine Street in Contoocook on Monday night. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 7/24/2018 8:36:33 AM

Beverly Johnson was known throughout the Hopkinton area for her caring nature and deep love of her family and community.

Her enthusiasm for her family was on display during Kearsarge High School basketball games, when her grandson, point guard Tommy Johnson, would play.

Her love for her husband, Thomas Johnson Jr., was a daily factor of their 60 years of marriage, family and friends said.

And her desire to care for her community was present in her involvement with Hopkinton’s senior group, the Golden Group, and when she would collect money for the monthly Odd Fellows Kearsarge Lodge No. 23 breakfasts that her husband would put on every month.

It comes as no surprise that her favorite symbol was a heart, said her grandson. Her home was decorated with hearts.

Beverly Johnson died Tuesday after a fire consumed her home on Pine Street in Contoocook, according to her family. Firefighters from multiple communities arrived after midnight to find one person outside the house – Tom Jr., according to family members – while the other resident was inside. Family members said Beverly Johnson was later found dead inside.

Jeremy Lindh, who is married to Johnson’s granddaughter, described her as a “sweetheart” who loved her husband, children and grandchildren.

“They were devoted to each other,” Lindh said of Thomas and Beverly Johnson.

Ben Creighton of Webster said he’s known Johnson for 60 years after he met her and her husband through his involvement with the local Odd Fellows lodge.

He described Johnson’s love of theater, and the frequent shows she would put on in town. He also remembered her as a fixture at the lodge’s breakfasts, which Thomas Johnson puts on the second Sunday of every month.

“She was a good friend,” he said.

And when she wasn’t with her family, Johnson was helping out with the Golden Group, an outing group for those 50 years old and up that provided activities such as day trips, overnight trips, carpool outings, potluck meals, cookouts, speakers, holiday celebrations and much more.

Family also said Johnson loved to sew and knit, and she tended to her garden with particular care.

An autopsy is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, the fire marshal’s office said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. No firefighters were injured, according to fire officials.

Acting State Fire Marshal Schultz and Hopkinton fire Chief Jeff Yale urged people to make sure they have working smoke alarms and to have an escape plan in case of a fire.

“A fire doubles in size every minute,” the fire marshal’s office said. “When a fire is detected by smoke alarms, occupants only have minutes to escape before being overcome by the effects of smoke.”

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)

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