Her death was confirmed by a sister, Susan Tekosky-Banks of New Rochelle, who said it was unexpected. "We still can't believe my sister's gone."
Benetia Tekosky-Johnson began working at the Brunswick Nursing Home in the early 1970s, soon after earning her nursing degree from Farmingdale State College.
After that nursing facility closed, she worked for the Town of Babylon, most recently at the Wyandanch Senior Nutritional Center, where she coordinated daily activities and organized outings for clients.
Raised Baptist, she converted to Methodism as an adult and began attending Bethel AME Church in Copiague. As an itinerant minister there, she founded an outreach program that took her to Suffolk County Jail in Riverhead every month, her sister said.
"If you needed to pray to a higher power or have someone to talk to, or just learn about a different way of living, she wanted to be a part of that," she said.
Tekosky-Johnson was starting a ministry for AIDS patients when she died, her sister said.
Survivors include her husband, Harry E. Johnson of Copiague; a son, Willie Greene III of Manhattan; her mother, Rosetta Tekosky of Amityville; sisters Valarie Tekosky of Manhattan, Hazel Johnson of Hyattsville, Md., Debra Marie Tekosky of the Bronx, and Khadija Ali of Columbia, S.C.; and a brother, Arnold Tekosky of Staten Island.
An earlier marriage to Willie A. Greene Jr. ended in divorce.
Services will be Saturday at Bethel AME Church, 20 Simmons St., Copiague, at 7 p.m., preceded by a wake from 4 to 7 p.m. Burial is Monday at Amityville Cemetery, 55 Harrison Ave., at 10 a.m.