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Hillcrest Memorial Park and Mortuary

9101 Kern Canyon Road, Bakersfield, CA

OBITUARY

Joseph Johnson

October 28, 1935October 6, 2019
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Joseph Johnson was born October 28, 1935, in Gulfport Mississippi. He was born to Frances and James Johnson. He was the third of nine children. He attended grade school at St. Theresa’s catholic school and high school at 33rd Avenue, both located in Gulfport, Mississippi. As a young boy he loved fishing on the pier and growing his own garden. Using his little red wagon to carry his merchandise, as a young entrepreneur, he would sell what he caught and grew to local business’s. Upon graduation from High School, at the age of seventeen, he enlisted in the Army for the first time. He served for three years and was honorably discharged in 1955. He returned to Gulfport, where he worked various jobs. In 1959, while singing as part of a local gospel group called the Starlight Travelers, he met and fell in love with a young pastor’s daughter named Tommie Zean Collins. They married on January 6, 1961 in Gulfport, Mississippi. He and his wife, have one son, Brannon. He moved with his family to Houston, Texas in 1963. In 1972 the family re-located to Bakersfield, California.

Joseph (or Joe as he was commonly known to friends or Jo-Jo to family), was a very hard worker. At times he worked several jobs to provide for his family. Because of his strong passion to provide for family and a deep sense of patriotism, he re-enlisted in the Army in 1969. He worked his way up through the ranks from Private to Master Sergeant. During his twenty-four years of military service, he was stationed at various bases: United States, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Guam, Japan, and Germany. He fought in both the Korean and Vietnam war. He was awarded the following medals: Vietnam Service and Campaign Medals, Three Army Commendation Medals, Three Oakleaf Clusters, Three Bronze Stars with Oakleaf Clusters, and Six Army Good Conduct Medals. He retired in 1985 from the Army with the rank of Master Sergeant E-8.

From 1985 to 1986 Joe was employed by the Kern Highschool District as a Campus Security Guard at various schools, where he was affectionately known as “Robocop”. In 1986 he started working at Bakersfield College as a Campus Policeman until his retirement in 2002.

Joe was a member of both the Westchester Kiwanis for thirty-two years, and Sons in Retirement Service (S.I.R.S.) for over five years. During his tenure as a Kiwanian, he served as Club Vice President and Club President and as Lt. Governor of the Thirty-Third Division. He also was involved with many community projects: Veteran’s Day Parade, Bakersfield Christmas Parade, Christmas Shopping Spree for Children, Relay for Life and charity golf tournaments to name a few. He enjoyed serving the community.

Some of Joe’s hobbies where traveling, movie watching, golfing and bike riding. Joe loved traveling with his wife. Some of their favorite places to travel where Disneyland, Universal Studios, Hawaii, and most especially Laughlin and Las Vegas. They would go at least twice a year to Laughlin and Las Vegas to hear the “Ching, Ching” sound from the machines and hopefully “Hit the Big One”. He really enjoyed watching all types of movies some of his favorite genres were: Horror/Thriller, Action, Comedy and Animation. He loved watching Perry Mason, The Thin Man, or Charlie Chan with Tommie while they were having dinner. He and his son Brannon where know to discuss movies for hours. He loved going to the movies with his family. At the tender age of seventy-four he discovered his passion for golf. He looked forward to his weekly golfing dates with his buddies.

Joe entered into his eternal rest on October 6, 2019 at the age of 83, in Bakersfield, California with his family by his side. Joe is proceeded in death by his parents, Frances and James Johnson and five siblings: Peggy Johnson, Robert Johnson, Jimmy Johnson, Juanita Cooper, and Frances Johnson. He is survived by his wife Tommie Zean Johnson, son Brannon (Connie) Johnson, three siblings: B.J. Johnson, Evelyn Kennedy, Janet Johnson, and a host of extended family and friends.

Services

  • Visitation Wednesday, October 16, 2019
  • Celebration of Life Thursday, October 17, 2019
  • Graveside to Follow Thursday, October 17, 2019

Memories

Joseph Johnson

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John Denvir

October 10, 2019

I met Joe when I first joined Kiwanis several years ago, and I always had great admiration of his service to our Country and to our community. What also stood out with Joe was his friendly and engaging personality, with a ready smile and laugh. Our world would be so much better with more Joe Johnsons, but our loss is heaven’s gain. My prayers are with Tommie and the family.

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