WROCLAW, Poland – Hundreds of people have gathered for the funeral ceremonies for Barbara Piasecka Johnson, a Pole who worked as a maid for an American heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune before marrying him and eventually inheriting much of his wealth.
Johnson, an art collector and philanthropist, died April 1 near Wroclaw, in southwestern Poland, where she lived and studied art history before moving to the United States in 1968. She is to be buried in the city on Monday.
This farmer's daughter found a job as a cook then chambermaid for J. Seward Johnson. In 1971 she became his third wife. After his death in 1983 she inherited some $300 million from a fortune of over $500 million, following an ugly legal battle with his children.