God’s light glimmered brightly in Mobile, Alabama on February 6, 1934, as Elizabeth Fields Johnson and John Wesley Johnson, Sr. welcomed the birth of twin brothers James and Peter Johnson. This was a bonus birth that added to the family unit of siblings within the Johnson household.
James’s childhood was filled with curiosity and a unique determination to seek an understanding of God and his purpose to make the world a better place. He independently sought experiences that informed and shaped his role as husband, father and friend during his lifetime. His early religious interest connected to what he learned and practiced as a devout Catholic. On this continuum, his educational engagement was surrounded by programs that he attended within his parish and community.
His life was greatly influenced by his love for the Bible and spiritual application that he took to heart. His thirst for biblical truth deepened under the tutelage of Pastor Andrew D. Shorter, a well-known Seventh-day Adventist minister. Pastor Shorter’s relationship with James held a special place, a heart space, resembling that of a father taking a son under his wings. James assisted Pastor Shorter by acting as his driver and supporting evangelistic meetings. This relationship spurred an interest in Adventism that would later attract him to Oakwood College and colporteur service in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. It was during his time as a colporteur that he met and fell in love with Yvonne G. Butler, a young, beautiful nursing student in Tennessee.
A bright future for James and Yvonne beckoned from the mountains of the Mile High City: “Come to Colorado!” They were both excited about the unlimited possibilities on the horizon and the possible forecast of two lovely children affectionately known as Jimmy and Val. Not only did they envision starting a family, but they also invested money, time and effort to support the beginning of the new Park Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church. Their work helped to spearhead the spiritual evolution of a community church that stands as a beacon of hope. Denver Park Hill Seventh-day Adventist church is a testimony of the vision that James and Yvonne hoped to fulfill. James was an excellent Elder, Deacon, and Sabbath School teacher, studying and pulling from the class the finer points of the lesson. He also raised the bar of excellence for ushers and deacons with his impeccable organizational skills and taste in clothes, he assured a fabulous church presence by insisting the ushers and deacons don pure white.
The demands of family life for James deepened his role, and his work-driven effort escalated to full throttle as such. James was a highly demanded first-class machinist. His machine application existed in an age before the use of 21st century technology such as computers, CADCAM, or any form of automation. Calipers, micrometers, dial gauges, plumb bobs, and precision rulers were the primary tools of his trade. James had to serve as the “human computer” to bring his work to life. He attended trade schools throughout his life journey to improve his already impeccable skills. James's innovative prowess and expertise could not be matched. He played as hard as he worked and enjoyed new and exciting adventures! The great outdoors often beckoned and camping and fishing served as incredible pastime outlets.
Although James experienced the early death of both of his parents, he made it a point to stand in as a parent to many young people and extended family members in his church. This love stretched throughout his outreach to individuals without homes, food or shelter - the least among us, marking his compassion toward individuals that were sick or struggling and touching those in situations that required support. It was also an extension of emphatically demonstrating the quality of preservation of the family structure. His vow prioritized family as, “nothing will interfere with or come in between our family.” With this focus, family meals were a special tradition. Evening prayers were also a special time instilled as a legacy to be preserved by Val and Jimmy. He embraced those he loved as family, and he lifted his family as the essential aspect of his heart.
James was preceded in death by his: parents, Elizabeth Fields Johnson and John Wesley Johnson, Sr.; siblings, John Wesley, Jr., James Edward Johnson, George Lee Johnson, Sr., Huri Oscar Johnson, Sr., Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Daniel D. Johnson, Martha Johnson Hicks, and Peter Johnson (twin).
James is survived by his: two children, James V. Johnson II and Valerie E. Johnson; his sisters, Mary E. Tompkins, and Ruth J. Washington; and a host of friends and family.
To view the service for James and Yvonne virtually, please use the following link. https://event.forgetmenotceremonies.com/ceremony?c=01f2d4c8-23c5-424a-bf17-77c75d5cd8ca