Lt. Colonel Chaplain James Louie Johnson (U.S. Army, retired) of Atlanta, Georgia, passed away on Sunday, June 2, after a long illness.
LTC James L. Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, on August 15th, 1930, to James Louie Johnson Sr. and Pearl Boyd Johnson. Both parents died when he was a child and he was brought to Augusta, Georgia, to be raised by a large extended family.
After high school, he joined the military and served in Germany during the Korean War. He then returned to Georgia and attended Georgia Southern University, where he met the love of his life, Loretta Roach. Having no immediate family of his own, the Roaches decidedly adopted him as one of their own, and the pair married in 1955. They welcomed their first daughter the same year, Nancy Kay Johnson, and their second daughter, April Lynn Johnson, was born in 1964.
Jim and Loretta were both teachers in their early years of marriage, and he later attended the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He received his Master of Divinity in 1962 and joined the U.S. Army Chaplain's Corps. James served in Vietnam, at Fort Belvoir (D.C.), Karlsruhe and Augsburg (Germany), Fort Hamilton (N.Y.)and Fort Campbell (Ky.). He received three more master's degrees from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va., and returned to Augusta to serve at Fort Gordon in 1974.
He retired from the military at Fort Gillem, here in Atlanta, in 1983. He went on to minister at Dunwoody Methodist, Snellville UMC, Ellenwood UMC and Langston UMC in Statesboro, Ga. He also worked as a coordinator for Elderhostel for 10 years. At St. Mark's Episcopal, he was the director in charge of all church programs, including those for feeding, sheltering and educating the homeless.
Around 2005, he retired from the ministry but continued to be active in church activities like teaching Sunday school classes at Embry Hills Methodist as well as serving as the chaplain in his local VFW.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his half-sister Nancy Ann Johnson; and his grandson Zebediah Millard.
LTC (Ret.) Johnson is survived by his wife, Loretta R. Johnson; his daughters, Kay J. Edenfield and April (Marshall) Millard; his granddaughters, Whitney (Adam) Scarbrough and Gillian Millard; a great-grandson, Wylie James Scarbrough; first cousin Martha Holly; a sister-in-law, Carmen Roach Powell; a brother-in-law, Hal (Susan) Roach; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
There will be a private family visitation at Embry Hills Methodist Church on Saturday, June 8, followed by a remembrance service open to all at 1 p.m. Please stay with us for refreshments and fellowship at the church following the service (Embry Hills Methodist, 3304 Henderson Mill Road, Chamblee, GA 30341). Committal services with military honors by the U.S. Army will be Thursday, June 13, 2019, at 10 a.m. in Georgia National Cemetery.
Jimmy Johnson was many, many things throughout his life: son, brother, orphan, scout, athlete, soldier, teacher, artist, actor, director, man of God. Most important to him, though, were being a husband, father and grandfather. He adored his wife of 64 years and the two were rarely apart. They were the ultimate complement to one another, and their long years together were filled with traveling, laughter and a deep, abiding love.
The biggest joys of his life were his daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchild, allowing CooCoo, as he was called, to indulge his already often childlike nature. He delighted in playing games, making funny faces and voices, and would do pretty much anything for a laugh. Jimmy was a born entertainer, a natural star who used his talent to bring comfort to the weary and levity to the forlorn. He served both God and his country, living through war but never firing a shot. His life serves as a shining example of the triumph of kindness, generosity and grace.
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Statesboro Herald, June 8, 2019
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