New York Jets: Betty Wold Johnson passes away at 99

Geoff Magliocchetti
New York Jets
ORCHARD PARK, NY – DECEMBER 29: A general view of a New York Jets helmet before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on December 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. Jets beat the Bills 13 to 6. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Betty, the mother of Woody and Christopher Johnson, was referred to as the “First Lady” of the New York Jets.

The New York Jets announced on Friday that Betty Wold Johnson, the mother of Jets owners Christopher and Woody Johnson, has passed away at the age of 99. The cause of death was not disclosed.

According to an obituary written by Eric Allen of, Johnson often referred to Jets players as her grandchildren. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, her first foray into football was attending University of Minnesota Golden Gopher games with her father Dr. Karl Christian Wold. She was married to Robert Wood Johnson until his death in 1970.

Johnson was also well known for her contributions to artistic and charitable causes. She also served in the United States Naval Reserve after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Numerous Jets took the team’s website to pay their respects.

RB Curtis Martin (1998-2006): She was definitely the First Lady of the Jets. She had such a presence there. And as far as the players being like grandchildren to her, I can definitely see that because she was such a warm person. She had a personal interest rooting for the Jets, but just her energy, she had a younger person’s energy. And she was just very approachable to everyone who met her. I just loved her as a human being.”

QB Chad Pennington (2000-07): “To me, two of her greatest qualities were humility and approachability. Ms. Johnson was such an approachable and humble lady. When I think of her, I think of her as The First Lady of the Jets. I think of Ms. Johnson as nothing but first-class with how she treated people, how she carried herself and how she represented herself and her family.”

QB Josh McCown (2017-18): “She cared and when you have the opportunity to step into somebody else’s story and make it better, it’s an honor. She felt the need to do so in so many areas and she leveraged her influence for good and I think that’s a message for all of us that we can all take with us, to look at where we are at life, wherever walk of life you’re in, and take that and leverage that for good for the world and the community.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags