Clemmie (Clem) Joseph Johnson

Published 5:11 pm Thursday, May 5, 2022

Clemmie (Clem) Joseph Johnson of the Huguley community of Lanett died on Monday, May 2, 2022, in a Columbus, Georgia hospital after brief illness.

The family will receive visitors at Skeen Funeral Home in Troy, Alabama at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, and the funeral service will follow at 2 p.m. in the chapel, officiated by Rev. Kenneth Baggett.  A military service with a gun salute followed by burial will be held in Hopewell Community Cemetery near Henderson.  Pallbearers will include Roy Wilbert Folmar, Brandon Nickolson, Daniel Hussey, Davy Dean, Will Ezell and another to be determined. 

Mr. Johnson was born at home on March 26, 1934, in Pike County, Alabama, a son of the late John Irvin, Sr. and Ruby Mae (Myers) Johnson of the Hopewell community. He stated that he was the last of 63 grandchildren of the late George Soasby and Delila (Wilson) Johnson of Goshen, Pike County.

Email newsletter signup

By age 16, Mr. Johnson had lost both parents.  Electing the military over farm work, he enlisted in the U. S. Air Force at age 17 on Aug. 17, 1951, and made Air Force service his career. 

After basic training, he was first stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico and over the years served in Rapid City, South Dakota; Westover, Massachusetts; Montgomery; Alconbury, Huntingdon, England; Wichita Falls, Texas; Knobmaster, Missouri; Biloxi, Mississippi; Little Rock, Arkansas; and an air base near Tachikawa, Japan.  He had very brief assignments and training in Alaska, the Azores and other countries.  Early in his career, he was a security squadron air policeman. For almost 10 years during the Cold War Emergency War effort, he was in very demanding and vital security controller positions with the Strategic Air Command (SAC), the Air Force’s long-range missile, bomber, and reconnaissance force.  He completed the Army 1st Infantry NCO Academy at Ft. Riley, Kansas and was an instructor for awhile at Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls. He later opted for duties in vehicle, base and heavy equipment maintenance.  On Sept. 1, 1971, he retired as a staff sergeant, having proudly and honorably served for 20 years. He had earned a National Defense Service Medal and a Good Conduct Medal, was an expert marksman and received a number of achievement certificates.   

After retirement, Mr. Johnson worked in hotel security in Arkansas, building construction in Texas and Florida, service station management and dairy work in Georgia and in various other jobs. He returned to Pike County and was a neighbor to his sister, Kathlyn, near Goshen for a number of years.  He then moved to Lanett and lived together with his daughter, Donna and husband Bennie Cole.

Mr. Johnson married Mittie Tillery on Dec. 25, 1951, in Troy, Alabama. They were together for many years, with her moving around with him on his military assignments. Five children were born to them from 1953 to 1967.

He is survived by all his children: daughters, Donna Kay J. Cole of Lanett and Linda Faye J. Lisenby and husband, Steve, of Enterprise, Alabama; sons, Richard Johnson of Houston, Texas, Marvin Johnson of Talladega, Alabama and John Irvin Johnson of Splendora, Texas; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and a number of nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his siblings, Kathlyn J. (Kitty) Folmar, John Irvin Johnson, Jr., Clyde Myers Johnson, Willie Mae J. Hill, Birdie B. J. Law, Rosa J. Lott, George Dalton Johnson and four infants.

Mr. Johnson made a profession of faith many years ago and was attending Free Will Baptist Church in Luverne, Alabama when he was baptized.  His favorite hobby while able was playing his Gibson guitar, beginning at age 73, and he played well. At one time, he had a small collection of stringed instruments. He loved bluegrass music and attending festivals held in the Henderson area. He wrote and self-published a book of his wife’s Tillery genealogy. Even though legally blind for a number of years with macular degeneration, he developed a system for doing much for himself.

He made written note that he had had a good life – that he had begun at a disadvantage and attained much wisdom. He said he loved everyone, was leaving no debt and was not aware of any need to apologize for anything.