Pastor Donald Wade Johnson

July 8, 1941December 1, 2018

Donald Wade Johnson, 77, passed away in Vienna, Georgia on December 1st, 2018. Pastor Wade, as he was known, was born in Montgomery, Alabama to Wilfred and Sara Kathaleen Johnson. Wade graduated from Grace Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity in 1966. Knowing he was called to the ministry since the age of seven, he willingly spent his life serving as a pastor, missionary, witness, prayer warrior, champion, and provider. Wade and Pat, his wife of 56 years, were called to the mission field in 1974 to the island of St. Maarten; eight years later they would be called to build a church on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. After 12 years, Wade and Pat moved to Jacksonville where two of their four daughters lived. Pastor Wade has been with Celebration Church for over 18 years, with most of those years ministering to the underserved and underprivileged.

Wade had a passion for collecting and repairing bicycles, then distributing them to people who otherwise wouldn’t have any transportation; mostly to the homeless, or survivors transitioning from rehabilitation to the workforce. When he wasn’t giving of his time and talents, he loved to fish. He was known to pull over just about anywhere he saw water and throw a line in – and he usually didn’t care if he caught anything. He also loved to tell a funny joke, then crack himself up. But above all else, he loved God, his family and his community unconditionally.

In addition to his wife Patricia Johnson, Wade is survived by his three daughters: Dana Kirkbride of Simpsonville, SC; Judi and Jeff Buckley of Taylors, SC and Patti and Craig Rigdon of Ponte Vedra, FL. He was pre-deceased by his daughter, Alicia Johnson. He is grandfather to Tyler Jowaisas (31); Amber Smith (30); Amanda Rigdon (30); Taylor Voke (30); Keeli Fricks (27); Grant Kirkbride (25); Brett Rigdon (24); Hannah Bailey (20); and Gabriel (14), Jake (13), and Josh (10) Rigdon, and 4 great-grandchildren. A funeral service for Pastor Johnson will be held on Saturday December 8th, 2018 at 11 am at Celebration Church, 10302 Deerwood Park Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256. His family and friends will reconvene at Greenlawn Cemetery, 4300 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32207, at 1 pm for the committal service. The family will be returning to Celebration Church for a reception and opportunity to gather, share stories, and celebrate Pastor Johnson’s life immediately after the committal service at Greenlawn Cemetery. Please Sign the guestbook at Hardage-Giddens Greenlawn Funeral Home & Cemetery, 4300 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32207 is serving the family.


  • Patricia T. Johnson, Wife
  • Dana Kirkbride, Daughter
  • Judi Buckley, Daughter
  • Jeff Buckley, Son-in-law
  • Patti Rigdon, Daughter
  • Craig Rigdon, Son-in-law
  • Alicia Johnson, Daughter
  • Tyler Jowaisas, Grandchild
  • Amber Smith, Grandchild
  • Amanda Rigdon, Grandchild
  • Taylor Voke, Grandchild
  • Keeli Fricks, Grandchild
  • Grant Kirkbride, Grandchild
  • Brett Rigdon, Grandchild
  • Hannah Bailey, Grandchild
  • Gabriel Rigdon, Grandchild
  • Jake Rigdon, Grandchild
  • Josh Rigdon, Grandchild
  • Pastor Wade is also survived by 4 great-grandchildren.


  • Funeral Service Saturday, December 8, 2018
  • Graveside Service Saturday, December 8, 2018

Pastor Donald Wade Johnson

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Ann Duncan

December 7, 2018

I am so grateful to the Lord for the life and ministry of Pastor Wade. My husband, Vernon, and I had the opportunity to work with Pastor Wade several years in ministry to the homeless. Some of our family also were blessed to serve with him and learn from him. I worked with him also in visiting hospitals and nursing homes and where ever people were hurting. Pastor Wade always taught us all and was a great example of the love of God ministering to the hurting. We thank the Lord for his life. We are praying for his family for peace and comfort.

Monica Ganzini

December 4, 2018

Our family shared a special bond with Pastor Wade that goes back twelve years. We met at Celebration and we spent many hours together serving the homeless community. He was a special man that opened his arms to everyone he met. I am sure that when he went to Heaven, the Lord told him "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
Our condolences to Miss Pat and the rest of the family! He will be greatly missed!

Lisa Johnson

December 3, 2018

I will forever have great memories of Pastor Wade. A great man of God who loved people with the love of God no matter who they were. Pastor Wade honored everyone and met the spiritual and physical needs of every person he came in contact with. I am truly grateful and honored to have served people alongside him. He will be greatly missed in our community! My condolences to Miss. Pat and the entire Johnson family!

Lisa Johnson