James L. Johnson, Jr., 87, Columbia City, died at 11:07 a.m. Friday, April 3, 2020, at his home.
He was born on Oct. 28, 1932, in Noble County, a son of the late James Leonard Johnson and Mary (Barr) Johnson. His formative years were spent in the Wolf Lake area, where he graduated from Albion High School in 1951.
On Aug. 20, 1951, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He became an aircraft mechanic, serving at the U.S. Naval base in San Diego. He became a competitive boxer in the Navy and earned a golden glove. He was honorably discharged on Aug. 8, 1954.
On Dec. 6, 1952, he was united in marriage to Anna Marie Deeter. Following his military service, the couple returned to Whitley County. They have lived at their home in Etna-Troy Township since 1965.
He worked for Dana Corp., Fort Wayne, from 1960 until his retirement in 1993.
Mechanically adept, he could fix anything that was repairable. Throughout his adult life he had a strong sense of community and volunteered countless hours of his time to the community betterment. He served on the Board of Directors of Northeastern REMC for eight years, was a regular blood and plasma donor for over 40 years, served with the jail ministries for several years, and volunteered with the Whitley County Council on Aging, and the Whitley County Senior Center. After his retirement, he delivered Meals on Wheels and volunteered at the Parkview Whitley Hospital. For his unselfish service, he was awarded the Martin H. Miller – Senior Volunteer of the Year in 2003 at the Indiana State Fair.
He was a member of the Troy Presbyterian Church, where he was an elder and oversaw the church Family Life Center for 25 years. He was proud member of the Masonic Due Guard Lodge 278, Larwill, the Mizpah Shrine, and a 50+ year member of the American Legion Post 98.
When not volunteering, he and his wife found time to travel the country. In June 2002 they went on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years: Anna; two sons: Todd Johnson and Brent Johnson, both of Columbia City; and a daughter: Jaima Foresman, Indianapolis; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Additionally, he was preceded in death by two brothers: Donald and Norman Johnson; two sisters: Virginia Johnson and Mary Alice Mazelin; and an infant sister.
There will be a private funeral and burial in the Merriam Christen Chapel Cemetery. A memorial service will be held after the Covid 19 restrictions are lifted.
Preferred memorials are to the Troy Presbyterian Church or the American Red Cross.