good. Knowing Johnson was a sailing
aficionado — and nobody else in his
family was — he pulled her aside to tell
her he was leaving his sailboat, his 28.5-
foot O’Day sloop, to her.
“The events that came together to
make this all possible is kind of extraor-
dinary,” said Johnson. “I don’t spend a
lot of time talking about it because it’s
so far-fetched that people have a hard
time believing something like all of that
could just sort of happen like they did.
I’ll just say there seems to have been a
path laid out for me.”
The boat being bequeathed to John-
son was sitting on the water in Mary-
land and needed some work. The man
who left it to Johnson, Alan Kjelleren,
hadn’t sailed it much in the final years
of his life, using it more as a moored
social club. But it floated and it had all
of its sails. Through the help of a Mal-
letts Bay boat dealer whose wife was a
cancer survivor, Johnson had the O’Day
brought up to a boatyard in Shelburne
in the autumn of 2013. Johnson knew
she wanted to use the boat to provide
sailing trips for cancer patients, but
life’s other commitments made it dif-
ficult for the idea to be her sole focus.
She needed some help.
On the same Labor Day week- end that Johnson learned she
would inherit a sailboat, Glen and Marie Findholt were celebrating their 45th
wedding anniversary, Aug. 31, 2013. It
was a bittersweet occasion. Marie was
in the final days of her life, suffering
from glioblastoma multiforme — an
aggressive form of brain cancer. Just
two weeks after their anniversary, less
than six months after being diagnosed,
Marie passed away at the age of 65.
Still coming to terms with his wife’s
death in February of 2014, Glen was on
a ski trip in British Columbia when a
text came in on his cell phone from
a friend who had just been elected to
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