Denice Joy Hendricks-Johnson was born April 23, 1954, in Lansing, Michigan to Mayland and Lila Johnson. The family moved to Cordova for good in 1959, where her parents and little sister, Diane, would make their home primarily for the rest of their lives.
Denice displayed an uncanny proclivity to instruments at a young age, beginning when attending a church service at a small mission home when there was no piano player, as the few faithful attendees were singing a cappella, Denice, at age 5 or 6, having no training or prior instruction, walked to the mission’s battered piano and began to play the hymn by ear. Later her and her sister, Diane, entertained and blessed many as a commonplace sister-act at many a gospel music event.
In August of 1973 Denice married James Neel from Monument, Oregon. Their first and eventually only child, Chris, was born just over a year later here in Cordova. Denice spent the majority of her young adult life as an on and off part-time worker and homemaker/wife/and mother. Amongst other jobs her two longest tenures were with Cordova Police Department dispatch and Cordova Telephone Company. The end of her years were spent in a battle with advanced bone degeneration leading to many other physical ailments and a life filled with pain and disability. On Oct. 7, Denice passed away after being medevaced to Fairbanks Memorial hospital. She was 67 years old. Preceding her were her first husband Jim Neel, her sister Diane Jeppson, and father Mayland Johnson. She is survived by her mother Lila Johnson, son Chris and grandchildren Maston, Mykah, Madyson, Myles and Meirra; Nephew Jack Jeppson and his daughter Chaya; Niece Angela Jeppson-Bolin and her husband Chris Bolin and their children Ariana, Raylin and Natalya and brother-in-law Curtis Jeppson.