Commander John Perry "Johnny" Johnson, USN, Ret., 88, died April 9, 2010 at the Covenant Hospice in Pensacola after a short illness.
A Pensacola native, he was resident of Jackson and Gainestown for 36 years before his death. The son of Alfred Ross and Josephine Westmark Johnson, he graduated from Pensacola High School in 1939 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942. Johnson was chosen for Naval flight training and became one of what came to be known as the "Silver Eagles." He graduated from flight school in Pensacola and served as a carrier-based pilot, assigned to the USS Mindoro for most of his active duty. Leaving the Navy in 1949, but remaining active in the Navy Reserve, he advanced to the rank of commander.
In 1947 he married Jane Calhoun Hybart and they had three children. After his Navy service, Mr. Johnson attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, graduating in 1952 with a degree in industrial engineering. He began his career at Chemstrand Co. in Pensacola where he invented the Super Nylon Knot. He later worked for the Monsanto Co. in St. Louis, Mo., Dow Badishe Co., Anderson, S.C., Gulf States Paper Corp. in Tuscaloosa, and retired from Boise Cascade, in Jackson. Mr. Johnson earned a master's degree in education administration from the University of Alabama in 1971. He and his first wife divorced in 1973.
Moving to Clarke County in 1974, he met and married Mrs. Sarah Stewart in 1979. Mrs. Johnson died shortly before her husband, on Jan. 26, 2010. Mr. Johnson built a country retreat at Gainestown and the couple divided their time between Jackson and the country. He built a lake and planted a vineyard at Gainestown, growing numerous varieties of muscadine grapes. After his retirement, Mr. Johnson gave his energy and intellectual curiosity to planning, planting and building.
Mr. Johnson was active in many professional and military organizations. He was a member of the Alabama Professional Registered Engineers and Land Surveyors, the Alabama Society of Professional Engineers, and Extrand, a group of former Chemstrand employees, a member of the Association of Naval Aviation Inc., the Navy Retired Officers Association, Military Officers Association of America, and the National Silver Eagles Association. He was a longtime member of the Clarke County Historical Society and the First United Methodist Church in Jackson, and a supporter of the Boy Scouts, having served as scoutmaster for his son's troop in Tuscaloosa.
Survivors include three children, Jane Ellen Clark of Hybart, Barbara Ann (Bill) Johnson of Gulf Breeze, Fla., and Perry Clayton (Paula) Johnson of Savannah, Ga.; six grandchildren, Jane Calhoun (Callie) Cole and Jessica Freeman, both of Birmingham, Linden Johnson of Fairhope, William Johnson Jr. of Gulf Breeze, Christopher Johnson of Florence, S.C., and Matthew Johnson of Savannah; one step-grandchild, Scott Downs of Jacksonville, Fla.; and six great-grandchildren; a sister, Kathryn Johnson Redding of Westfield, Ind.; and a sister-in-law, Anna McLaughlin Johnson of Pensacola. He also leaves a nephew, five nieces and numerous cousins.
In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by three of his siblings, Ethel Johnson, Alfred Ross Johnson Jr. and Adelaide Johnson Ingram.
A memorial service will be Friday, April 23, at 12:30 p.m., for John Perry "Johnny" Johnson at the Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla. The service will be accompanied by full military honors. Lathan Funeral Home will direct.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Clarke County Historical Society (www.clarkemuseum.com) or Covenant Hospice of Pensacola (www.covenanthospice.org). Lathan Funeral Home of Jackson is in charge of arrangements.