Barbara Lena (Tirotta) Johnson, 80, of Niles, passed away on Thursday, January 13, 2022, at her home with her loving family by her side. She was born on July 6, 1941, to the late Perry and Lena (Sainato) Tirotta, in South Bend, Indiana. Barbara was preceded in death by her parents, siblings; Judith Sinkovics, Mary Spencer, Rose Ratkay, Edith Lansford, Teresa McKamey, Catherine Everly, Angela Marlin, Perry Tirotta, Micheal Tirotta, along with a great-grandson, Paxton L. Pierson. She is survived by her children, Debbie (Steve) Watson of Niles; Tony Otolski of Niles; Tracie (Steve) Ferenczi of Niles; her siblings, Frank Tirotta; Joe Tirotta; Sandra Tirotta; Paul Tirotta; eleven grandchildren; and twenty great-grandchildren. As a prominent businesswoman, Barbara owned and operated 7 restaurants in Niles, during her lifetime, including Barbie Jean’s Restaurant, Stop- In (S. 11th), Mario’s, Stop-In (Barron Lake), The Diner - Stateline Road, The Diner- StateLineRoad (reopened in 2015), and was the founder of the area-famous Plaza restaurant. Barb was well known by the community and had a large following of customers who could often be found chatting with her at the coffee counter on any given morning. Her employees may have “feared” her at times, but they respected the work ethic she instilled in them. She always gave second chances and did whatever she could to help anyone in need. Barb enjoyed spending time with her sprawling family, knitting for anyone and everyone, and gambling. If you didn’t find her laying out in the sun, you may have found her at the casino or enthusiastically scratching off lotto tickets. Everyone knew Christmas Eve was her holiday, and meat was NOT on the menu. Many may be surprised to learn that at one point in time she was even an official private detective (concealed carry and all). Barbara was the strongest woman her three children have ever known. Her legacy of love and strength will be carried on by her family and the many others who knew her. She will be dearly missed by all who love her. The Mass of Catholic Burial for Barbara L. Johnson will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, at Saint Mark Catholic Church by Father Peter Rocca, C.S.C., assisted by Brother Dennis Meyers, C.S.C. A committal service will follow at Highland Cemetery in South Bend. In an effort to keep everyone healthy, the church has requested that everyone in attendance please wear a mask and follow CDC guidelines. The family will receive relatives and friends from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, at Brown Funeral Home in Niles with a recitation of The Rosary at 6:00 p.m. Those wishing to make a memorial donation in honor of Barbara may do so to the St. Jude Foundation. Condolences, photos, and memories may be left for Barbara at www.BrownFuneralHomeNiles.com Arrangements have been entrusted to Brown Funeral Home, Niles.