Louise Malia Johnson, who was Sanibel's eighth mayor, a longtime island resident and an environmental activist, died in November after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was 92.

Johnson served as mayor from December 1985 through November 1986. During her term, City Council adopted 44 Ordinances and 115 Resolutions. Among the legislation adopted during her tenure were numerous land use regulations including:

  • Adoption of a moratorium on new commercial development until new regulations were adopted

  • Adopted a Hurricane-Resistant Building Code

  • Authorized the City's per day for each day of violation for repetitive Code violations

  • Establishment of setbacks for institutional uses

  • Approved the City's Uniform Street Naming System

  • Adopted procedures for permitting increased density for Below Market Rate Housing

  • Adopted the Codes regulating Special Events

  • Adopted the Codes establishing procedures for Occupational Licensing

  • Adopted the Codes establishing the procedures for Trash Containments

  • Adopted the regulations for accessary structures such as guard houses and security fences for Sanibel subdivisions

  • Established the procedure for illegally parked vehicles

In addition to serving as mayor, Johnson served as vice mayor, a member of city council and the planning commission. While some long-time residents may remember her most as one of the first female mayors of the island, she felt her most meaningful impact came on the planning commission, trying to protect and preserve Sanibel's unique environment.

Johnson was born and raised in Syracuse, N.Y., with her two sisters and two brothers, living on the south side of the city in sometimes difficult circumstances. She attended Syracuse University on a scholarship, where she met her husband of 43 years, Arthur. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree in English, a master's degree in Library Science and a PhD of Arts. She later taught English at Alfred University in the southern tier of New York.

It was when Johnson and her family moved to Sanibel in 1977 that she found her mission for the second half of her life. She volunteered with many organizations on the island, including her local church, Zonta International, and a variety of environmental organizations, such as the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, where she was a guide on nature walks and fell in love with the flora and fauna of the island.

In 2012, Johnson received the Rachel Carson award from the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education for her long-time service to the community of Sanibel.

She is survived by her daughter Deborah; son Steven and his wife Karena; granddaughter Hannah; as well as nieces and nephews. The family asks that you remember Johnson for her love of Sanibel's beaches, Ding Darling Refuge, and the special people of the island who strive to keep it as natural as possible. Contributions can be made to the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.