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Ted Dickey Funeral Home

2128 18th Street, Plano, TX

OBITUARY

John Thomas JOHNSON Jr.

April 11, 1919September 11, 2020
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Anyone who has spent time with John Johnson – at a family gathering, or on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or as a fellow passenger on a long road trip - knows what an excellent storyteller he was. Tales of the rambunctious auburn-haired boy growing up in rural Louisiana, or the young sailor traveling the world during and post-World War II, were all told in such vivid detail that one would think it happened only yesterday and not a lifetime ago. But now his story has come to its natural conclusion. John Thomas Johnson, Jr. died peacefully at his home in Arlington, TX, surrounded by his family, on September 11, 2020, at age 101.

John was born in the family home in Bunkie, Louisiana on April 28, 1919 to parents John Thomas Johnson, Sr. and Minnie Lucille Biles Johnson. And here is where his stories begin: the operation on the family’s dining room table when the doctor drained his right lung after a bout of pneumonia, the story usually ending with a view of his scar. Or the forbidden entry into a nearby construction site that ended with a fall and his right leg impaled by a metal rod - with yet another scar. John graduated from Bunkie High School in 1937, and in 1940, with the looming prospect of another world war, he enlisted in the US Navy, instead of waiting for the inevitable draft into the Army. The first years of military life were spent in the Atlantic aboard the USS George Clymer, transporting troops to and from the coast of North Africa; and as the war progressed, in the Pacific defending our Western shores from the Japanese. At the end of the war, John was assigned to the task force that oversaw the nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll. This was one of the most frightening tales he told, including a chilling description of a massive mushroom cloud.

In 1946 while stationed in Dallas for recruiting duty, John met, through mutual friends, an attractive young brunette named Billie Jo Parrish. He was smitten, and although at first meeting she thought he looked like “an old married man”, he persisted, and five months later, on March 7, 1947, they were married. They wasted no time in starting a family, and on January 7, 1948 their first son, John Thomas Johnson III was born. In 1950, John received orders to transfer to Honolulu, Hawaii where their second son, Lester Parrish Johnson was born on July 1, 1951. In 1953 John was sent back to Dallas for three years, and then in 1956 the family moved once again, this time to Long Beach, California for active duty as Chief Yeoman aboard the USS Toledo, sailing on peace-keeping missions throughout the Pacific to Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan and many other ports of call – always gathering more material for exciting stories to tell his boys. At the end of his tour of duty in Long Beach, John retired from the Navy, having proudly served his country for 20 years. The family then settled in Plano where John and Billie built their dream home and settled in for the next 53 years. With the help of an old Navy friend John began his next career at TXL Oil Co. in Dallas. A few years later TXL was bought by Texaco, and when Texaco announced that the corporate headquarters would move to Houston, John opted to leave the company so the family wouldn’t have to make yet another move. He eventually landed a job at Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, which today is known as the University of Texas at Dallas, and worked there until his retirement in 1982. He spent the next 15 years as caregiver to his mother Minnie and mother-in-law Beulah.

John was a respected man in the then small community of Plano, took an active part in school activities, and was a founding member of the Holy Nativity Episcopal Church where he served as usher, choir member, layman, yardman, sprinkler system repairman, and food pantry organizer. John was a true Southern gentleman and the embodiment of the Greatest Generation. He was a man of strong faith and quiet determination, a man of his word. He led by example and taught by example: love your family, tell the truth, always finish what you start, do your best, take responsibility for your actions, respect all.

And here’s one last story about John that exemplifies another of his special qualities: his dry sense of humor. In the last days of his life as the body was shutting down, the mind remained sharp and alert, and in a moment of anger and frustration he yanked the oxygen tube from his nose and tried to pull it from his face. Son John replaced the tube and admonished him severely, to which he replied, “When is this experiment in keeping me alive going to end?”

John is preceded in death by his parents, and his sister Alice Winifred Peek. He’s survived by his wife of 73 years, Billie; son John (wife Donna Gravatt Johnson); son Les (husband Daniel Buraczeski); grandson John Thomas Johnson IV (wife Geri Durham Johnson); granddaughter Ashlee Johnson Blackwell (husband Tyler Blackwell); great-grandchildren John Thomas Johnson V, Samuel James Blackwell and Eli Dalton Blackwell; and nephew Charles Ross Peek.

Services will be held at Ted Dickey Funeral Home, 2128 18th St., Plano, TX. Viewing is from 10:00 – 11:00am. The funeral service begins at 11:00am and will be officiated by Father John Kline. Pallbearers are John Johnson III, John Johnson IV, John Johnson V, Les Johnson, Tyler Blackwell, David Ballard, Leo Fitzgerald, and Merv Griffith.

In lieu of flowers please send a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, WoundedWarriorProject.org.

Services

  • Visitation

    Thursday, September 17, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, September 17, 2020

  • Committal Service

    Thursday, September 17, 2020

Memories

John Thomas JOHNSON Jr.

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Sue and Joe Adams

September 14, 2020

We are so sorry to hear of John's passing. God bless him and may he rest in peace. He's our hero living 101 years still with a clear mind and sense of humor. We cherish all the many years spent with John and Billie at Holy Nativity. Blessings and love to Billie and all the family, Sue and Joe Adams

FROM THE FAMILY

Proud sailor. He loved the U.S. Navy

FROM THE FAMILY

Plano Class of ‘66 50th Reunion

FROM THE FAMILY

The Chief tending to his check book just a few months ago.

FROM THE FAMILY

100th birthday. Candles cost more than cakes :-)

FROM THE FAMILY

The best parents ever!

FROM THE FAMILY

Old QB, point guard, ran the mile in track

FROM THE FAMILY

Sitting next to good friend and Donna’s Dad, Vernon

FROM THE FAMILY

Holding great grandson, Samuel, now 8

FROM THE FAMILY

No...that’s not a fake nose on Santa.

FROM THE FAMILY

Proud sailor. He loved the U.S. Navy

FROM THE FAMILY

Plano Class of ‘66 50th Reunion

FROM THE FAMILY

The Chief tending to his check book just a few months ago.

FROM THE FAMILY

100th birthday. Candles cost more than cakes :-)

FROM THE FAMILY

The best parents ever!

FROM THE FAMILY

Old QB, point guard, ran the mile in track

FROM THE FAMILY

Sitting next to good friend and Donna’s Dad, Vernon

FROM THE FAMILY

Holding great grandson, Samuel, now 8

FROM THE FAMILY

No...that’s not a fake nose on Santa.

FROM THE FAMILY

The four generations of John Thomas Johnson’s

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