Mr. Charles Erwin Johnson — 1927-2019

Published 6:36 pm Friday, July 19, 2019

Mr. Charles Erwin Johnson went to join his sweetheart, Louise, on July 16 at the age of 91. Charlie was born in North Carolina on October 11, 1927. Following his mother’s death, he and his brother moved in with their mother’s family in Spartanburg, South Carolina. When she was eight years old, Louise saw him across the street playing and decided the cute boy with the curl on his forehead was her new boyfriend. It was love at first sight for her. He said he didn’t pay her much mind till his teen years. He thought none of the other girls liked him, not knowing Louise had beat up any girl who made eyes at him. At the age of 18, she told him they were getting married (and for 69 years he was still saying yes dear). Shortly after, Johnson enlisted in the Navy in 1945. He was assigned to the USS Shenandoah AD-26, sailing the Mediterranean toward the end of WWII. He served as Ship Postmaster and Captains Assistant. He was discharged on a Friday and went to work on Monday for Rhodes Furniture in Jacksonville, Florida, where Louise’s family had moved. In 1957, he was made the manager of the Rhodes store in West Point. Louise didn’t think they would be there long, but it remained their home for the rest of their lives. He served as the President of the Merchant’s Association and was a charter member of the “Nifty Coffee Club.” In 1970, Johnson left Rhodes and opened Town Square Furniture in Lanett and Valley Furniture in Shawmut. Four years later, he built Johnson Galleries in Opelika. He and Louise worked side by side and it became one of the most recognized furniture stores in the state of Alabama, winning numerous awards. After 37 years in business, Charlie closed the store to take care of his health, his sweetheart and enjoy his yard work. His neighbors will miss seeing him working in the yard and wheeling down the street in his mobility chair with his dog Benji.

Johnson was born to William Allender and Bertha (Deaton) Johnson and had one brother, Willian Neil Johnson.

He is survived by his son, Richard, of West Point; and daughter, Kathy Hunley (Carlton, III), of Opelika; grandsons, Carlton Hunley, IV, of Opelika, and Brian Hunley (Karen), of Opelika; and his great-grandchildren, Mark and Lucy. He goes to join Louise who died four years before him, almost to the day.

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A celebration of Johnson’s life will be on July 21 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. CDT in the Johnson Galleries Building, which is now the Bennie Adkins Lee County Community Meeting Center at 205 S. 10th Street in Opelika.

Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home & Crematory directing.