Jackson County Times

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

County Mourns Loss of Robert "Doc" Johnson

Well known for his lifetime work and accomplishments
The Life He Lived
By Sheryl Johnson McGriff
Robert B. Johnson was born August 7, 1935 to the late Chester and Pellie Myrick Johnson in Marianna, Jackson County, Florida. Brother Johnson was converted at an early age and joined Pope Chapel AME Church where he was a faithful member and served dutifully in various roles including Choir Number One member, Sunday school secretary, church Treasurer and Church Stewart. His early education was received at Pope Chapel Church School. He graduated in the Jackson county Training School class of 1955 and later completed a vocational training program at Chipola Junior College.
Brother Johnson earned his nickname "Doc" from his many years as a veterinarian technician at Marianna Animal Hospital where his instinct and care led many clients to prefer his assistance over that of the doctors. His best "doctoring," however, was performed on his "little girl", Sheryl, when a pan of hot grease was accidently spilled over her face and the top layer of skin was peeled off. Doc threw out the prescribed drugs because they weren’t helping, then, lovingly cared for her with his own homemade concoction that restored her skin to optimal condition.
Brother Johnson lived a life of service to others. From an early age until a few days before his passing, he graciously transported his family members to and from church services. For many years, he got up early to open the church and turn on the heat or air conditioner so that the members would be comfortable when they arrived. He faithfully served as an officer in the United Christian Aide Grand Lodge, the United Christian Aide Lodge Number 1, and Pope Chapel Masonic Lodge. For many years he was a funeral attendant for Vann Funeral Home.
R.B. relished bringing joy to others. He had a love of life and loved to have fun. For many years he was the unofficial "ump" for the annual Pope Chapel May Day baseball game. His eyesight was often called into question, though, because many of his "calls" were suspect. During the years when local churches held Sunday afternoon baseball games, Johnson transported the Pope Chapel team on the back of his pick-up truck. For many years, he drove truckloads of trick-or-treaters to the homes of family and friends in Marianna, and Bascom, always dressed, of course, in his own "tailor-made" costume (straw hat, cane & pipe). His annual holiday fireworks display lit up Johnson Hill to the delight of his children, nieces, and nephews. It was hilarious to watch him play UNO because he held his cards in a way that everyone knew what he had. In the end, everyone else’s laughter put a bright smile on his face.
Robert "Doc" Johnson –
A Caring, Compassionate Man
By Sid Riley
Our local communities are saddened today by the passing of Robert "Doc" Johnson. He was buried on Monday, June 1 after a service at the Pope Chapel AME Church in Marianna. Many will remember Robert as the capable, friendly Veterinarian’s Assistant who was always at the side of Dr. Ben Willis. Willis provided Veterinarian services to this area for many years.
Willis was never hesitant to give credit to Robert Johnson for his knowledge and skills. "He is actually a more skilled vet than I am", Willis would exclaim. "He can do any surgical procedure as well as anyone". It was those skills which earned him the nickname, "Doc". After Willis retired and closed his clinic, Robert worked for many years at Vann Funeral Home. We will all miss his friendly greetings and helpful hands.

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