November 11th, 2001
I am writing to you with heartfelt sadness to tell you of the loss of a loyal friend, Johnny Johnson.
The call came early this afternoon from Randy Youngblood at the College, and soon after from Susan Kinney. All they had been told was that Johnny was on a trip. We think he was having a great time. The first report was that he may have drowned while snorkeling. The second bit of news came later this afternoon and indicated that he may have had a heart attack while paddling back toward the boat.
Stretch and Joan, Terri, Dwight, and Afif came to my home tonight. More of you called. Thank you. We reminisced, cried, laughed, prayed, with Johnny in our hearts and minds. As we closed our evening, we gather closely together and played a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace followed by prayerful affirmations for Johnny. Friends, thank you for being here!
I have been a close friend of Johnny’s for 21 years, some of these folk have know him as little as a year. The result is the same: we feel respect and love for him. Johnny had quiet strength and character that inspired those who took time to know him.
Dr. Berte told me that the College would like to host a ceremony, and plans should be announced soon. Johnny’s brother, Dean, is planning a funeral in their hometown in North Alabama, and plans for that are underway. Bill Wagnon at the College prepared a news release tonight. I can keep you posted, if you wish.
The Personal Leadership Association will dedicate our dinner planned for Tuesday, December 4, at The Club to Johnny. We had already planned to create our first award, The Loyalty Award, and had planned to surprise Johnny with it that evening. Many of you know that Johnny co-founded the Association and has “been there” since the beginning. We will proceed to present the award. We invite you to join us for the dinner to honor Johnny and to celebrate what has happened in our first decade and can happen in our future, in part because of Johnny’s loyal service.
Friends are already asking: what can I do?
Include Johnny in your prayers. Also, please remember Johnny’s mother, and the rest of the family.
You can attend the dinner on December 4 and or one of the services in his memory.
If you wish to communicate a message about Johnny, you can mail a letter to me at 429 Trousdale Street, Vestavia Hills, Alabama 35216. The letters can be presented to Johnny’s family and copies kept for our Association. Also, you can send your message via email so that we can post all or part of your thoughts on our web site at a page for Johnny.
To my friends and family reading this, thank you. Honestly, this has been a hard day full of shock, sadness, anger, inspiration, and even a few laughs. I ask for your prayers for Johnny, his family, and his friends. Thank you.