Protecting victims, preventing violence,  and empowering survivors

Domestic Violence Program & Sexual Assault Services mourns the loss of program founder, Deborah Johnson


On Friday, December 23rd, Deborah Johnson, Domestic Violence Program founder and recently retired Executive Director, passed away peacefully in the care of Hospice.


Ms. Johnson, recently diagnosed with leukemia fought a hard battle with very high spirits even on the toughest of days; typical of her always uplifting demeanor.


Ms. Johnson served as the founding director of the Domestic Violence Program, Inc.  She started the program in 1986 and retired as Executive Director on October 31, 2016 after 30 years of service.  She was a critical moving force in the county’s efforts to assist victims of violence, as evident through the growth of the Domestic Violence Program and Sexual Assault Services, which now serves over 5000 clients a year through crisis hotline calls, court advocacy, counseling and offering safe sheltering at one of the larger domestic violence shelters in the state.


Her death is a tragic loss to the program’s staff, many of whom who worked closely alongside her for over 10 years.  Ms. Johnson is fondly remembered by staff as someone who has given selflessly for the program, the community and others.


Ms. Johnson was passionate about a number of causes, including animals, homelessness, the elderly and equality and human rights.  She served on the Homeless Task Force, was an active member of AAUW, and long-time volunteer supporter of Uncle Dave Macon Days. She devoted her life to helping others and did so with grace, compassion, and sensitivity.


Memorial Service. A memorial service celebrating Deborah Johnson’s life will be held on Thursday, January 5th at Woodfin Memorial Chapel at 7:00pm. Visitation will begin at 3:00pm. Ms. Johnson asked prior to her passing that in lieu of flowers, for all to please make a donation to the Domestic Violence Program & Sexual Assault Services; a program which she loved so deeply.  Gifts in Ms. Johnson’s memory can be directed to the Domestic Violence Program, Inc. Endowment Fund at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, 3833 Cleghorn Ave. Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37215 or to DVP at PO Box 2652, Murfreesboro, TN 37133.


About Domestic Violence Program & Sexual Assault Services. Our mission is simple; To prevent violence, protect victims, and empower survivors. We do this by providing citizens of Rutherford County with the resources and assistance necessary to effectively deal with the personal, social, and legal implications of victimization by domestic violence and sexual assault.


Kara Mischke

Domestic Violence Program & Sexual Assault Services

2106 E. Main St. Murfreesboro, TN

(615) 896-7377 /

December 27, 2016