Obituary for James "Jim" Elmer Johnson
ARLINGTON -- James "Jim" Elmer Johnson, 91, passed away Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, after an extended illness. He died peacefully, surrounded by loving family members.
Memorial service: 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 28, at New World United Methodist Church in Arlington.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, www.alz.org, or the National Parks Conservation Association, www.npca.org.
Jim was born on June 29, 1924, in a log cabin in the mountains of Northeast Washington State. His family moved to Alaska when he was 12, where he developed a lifelong love of the mountains and the great outdoors. He graduated from Juneau High School in 1942, enlisting in the army upon graduation.
Jim served during World War II as a field radio operator for the Army Combat Engineers. He was involved in the Battle for the Ruhr and the Battle for Central Germany. Following the war, determined to make a contribution to world peace and justice, he obtained a bachelor's degree from the University of Puget Sound. In 1949, he married his lifelong love and best friend, Olive "Bansy" Tuttle. He continued his education, earning a master's degree in U.S. foreign policy and international relations from the University of Washington.
During his career, Jim held leadership positions in the following human rights organizations: the National Conference of Christians and Jews; the Seattle World Affairs Council; the Seattle Urban League; and the Washington, D.C., Bureau of the National Urban League. He also lobbied Congress for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
As part of President Johnson's War on Poverty, Jim helped introduce anti-poverty programs, including the VISTA program, in the southeastern United States. He served for 16 years in the Southwest Region of the Office of Economic Opportunity. Prior to retirement, he worked for a short time as a special assistant in the district offices of Congressman Thomas Foley and Congressman Jim Wright.
Upon retiring, Jim continued to help others through volunteer work, directing recreation programs for youth, driving for the American Red Cross, assisting handicapped individuals and working on political campaigns. He served on the boards of the Friends of the UT Arlington Library and Youth Orchestra of Greater Fort Worth. He had a beautiful voice and sang in church choirs for many years.
"Papa" loved creating inventive stories for his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He also had a passion for fishing, Frisbee golf, computer games, repairing cars, and visiting with neighbors and friends. He and Bansy enjoyed participating in fine arts events in the Metroplex. His family was his greatest joy, including his six daughters and their families.
The family would like to thank the loving caregivers at Green Oaks Senior Care, especially Michael Obasa, New World United Methodist Church, and the many friends who provided support along the way.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, George and Lodema Johnson; and his sister and brother-in-law, Lodema and Bill Mack.
Survivors: He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Bansy Johnson; and his daughters and their spouses and significant others, Frances Johnson (Steve Colvin), Jamie Pedrini (Francisco Castillo), Roxanna Patterson (Ron Patterson), Merrin Johnson (Walt Latham), Kristin Johnson and Kari Mariani (Alec Mariani). Jim is also survived by his grandchildren, Tommy Pedrini, Joanna Patterson-Zakany, Jimmy and Natasha Patterson, Dylan Harcrow, Kiarra, Damon and Antonio Mariani, Sarah Haines, Sean Latham; great-granddaughter, Emma Haines; and his "adopted" grandsons, Niraj and Nishant Soni.
Wade Family Funeral Home