He was born September 24, 1943 in the small agricultural town of Windsor, North Carolina to John Cabot Johnson and Annie Minton Johnson. His parents owned an open-air market that supplied the people of the town with 50 pounds of cubed ice a week for their ice boxes to keep food from spoiling before they had electricity and refrigerators. His uncle, Woodrow Wilson Johnson, a wealthy gentleman farmer was an inspiration as well as a mentor to him. At the age of 12 his father died of a massive heart attack and he learned early on about hard work on a farm. His uncle raised and showed pigs, so John helped him, went to school, worked in a grocery store on weekends and played ball. He was a member of 4-H and Future Farmers of America. His uncle started him a college fund and for every pig he raised, showed and sold, the money would go towards his education. This is where his drive to be very competitive about winning and learning to save money originated. By judging pigs, he learned to tell if an animal had good conformation and was healthy. John went to NC State College studying Animal Husbandry, then married young and divorced. He decided he wanted to do something different that would give him the lifestyle he never had and a good retirement. John went through a five-year apprenticeship program with National Automatic Sprinkler Company to learn the sprinkler fire protection business. Being used to hard work and great in math, earned him lots of promotions early on. He oversaw large commercial jobs that needed a person who could put sprinkler heads in correctly and manage a massive crew of union workers. In 1978 John sprinkled the 1st gaming Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey "Resorts International Casino Hotel" in addition to many Naval Bases and hospitals.
In 1980 he found the family and wife he had been looking for. Patricia Jones and her parents, Robert L. Jones and Bright Jones from Washington, NC gave him a second chance to have a loving family that had been lost by both his parents being deceased. Johnny and Patricia had been married for 41 years and live in Siler City, NC. They owned Johnson's Automatic Sprinkler, Inc. and Pat's Grooming & Boarding Kennel. Pats Grooming & Boarding Kennel will continue.
In 1984 John was awarded "The Order of the Long Leaf Pine" by Governor James Hunt, Jr. in the state of North Carolina. He finished in six months becoming a member of the Masonic Lodge in Siler City and a Shriner.
Later in life he decided there was only one type of dog for him to show, "The Boston Terrier". He traveled all over the US showing great dogs they had raised, thanks to Andy Turner a great breeder. Since they had no children together, their new family became Boston Terrier dog people from all over the world. Their family reunions were meeting friends at Dog Shows. He judged many sweepstakes shows and won lots of awards. Later John bought a large RV to travel so he could stay on show grounds and enjoy the fellowship of beloved friends. He helped in getting a commemorative Boston Terrier Postage stamp.
He was preceded in death by a sister; Barbara Jean Jernigan and nephew, Bimbo Jernigan. Surviving are his wife; Patricia Johnson, two 1st cousins; Libby Johnson Schoeb and George Butler Rhodes, children; Teresa Johnson Griffith, Elizabeth A. Johnson and John F. Johnson, Jr., granddaughter; Katherine Joyce Griffith and grandson; Robert Cooper Griffith.
His wish was to be cremated and put in an expensive Urn that holds a candle. Johnny will stay at home until a later time and then be buried when the time is right at Oakdale Cemetery in Washington, NC.
His body may be gone but the memories shared that he taught will live on forever. Mainly remember him and let people know what a wonderful person he was.
Memorials can be made to the Shriners or a Boston Terrier Rescue or send a special memory you had with him in a card to 115 Poe Rd., Siler City, NC 27344.
If you do send flowers, the family requests only wreaths, air plants, silk or potted live plants outside of peace lilies, no cut arrangements.
A special thanks to Carol and Richard Kelly for their moral support and opening their home to give me a safe place to stay. It gave me extra time to be with Johnny before his passing. God Bless You!
Friends may come by to sign the register book and view a memorial video of his life from 1:00-5:00 PM on Friday and Saturday, March 26th and 27th, 2021 at Smith & Buckner Funeral Home, 230 North Second Ave., Siler City.
Smith & Buckner is assisting the Johnson family.
Online condolences may be made at www.pughfuneralhome.com as well as a memorial video rejoicing his life.