James Hardy Johnson, beloved husband, father, grandfather and Pastor, was born on August 29, 1930 in Latta, South Carolina to Robert Lacy and Marguerite McCall Johnson. He went to join them in the presence of his Lord, Jesus Christ, on Friday, November 9, 2018. He was also reunited with his brothers, Gerald (Jerry) and Betty Johnson, Alex (Buddy) and Mickey Johnson, his sister, Peggy Altman (Albert) and his nephew and wife, Gerald and Jan Johnson.
Brother Jim, as he preferred to be called, graduated from Wake Forest University with honors. After graduation from college, he joined the US Navy and was proud to serve on the USS Cotten during the Korean War (1951-1955). While in the Navy, God called Brother Jim into the gospel ministry and so upon discharge from the Navy he pursued theological studies. He received Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Divinity degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC and a Doctor of Theology degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Brother Jim began serving as a pastor while attending Southeastern Seminary and for the following 54 years he was a committed and beloved pastor in South Carolina, Texas and North Carolina. His last pastorate was the West Asheville Baptist Church (1972-1996). During the years of his ministry at West Asheville Baptist Church, Brother Jim preached on the Billy Graham radio station, WMIT, on Sunday evenings. He was very much appreciated and beloved as a radio preacher. Following his retirement from WABC, he served as an Interim Pastor in eight churches in South and North Carolina. While active as a pastor, Brother Jim participated in Associational and State Baptist activities by serving on numerous committees and boards in each state where he pastored. He also taught New Testament at Fruitland Bible College for six years.
Brother Jim never forgot a name. Once he met a person, he always called that person by name thereafter. He was filled with the love of God and he shared that love with everyone. His infectious smile was a constant reminder of the joy of the Lord in his life. He was always a grateful man and he lived a life of thanks-giving to God and to every person who extended kindness to him. His greatest desire was to be a faithful pastor and he devoted his life to "caring for his flock". He was also a man of prayer and mighty faith. His prayer life impacted hundreds of believers during his years of ministry. He was a faithful evangelist and he taught others to share their faith in Christ. His pastoral leadership and spiritual lifestyle inspired many men and women to surrender their lives to the gospel ministry.
Brother Jim was honored as "Citizen of the Year" in 1964 by the Tabor City, NC Chamber of Commerce. He was recognized for his community service which was an important part of his life. He was a Rotarian and he also served on a number of community service boards. He was an avid quail hunter which ultimately led him into the hobby of raising quail. He maintained that hobby until his health prohibited him. He was also an avid sports participant and fan. One of his greatest joys was to serve as Coach of one of WABC Men's softball teams for several years.
Brother Jim leaves behind his beloved wife of 61 years, Ellen Paschall Johnson; his daughter, Rebekah Lynne and her husband, Rev. Jeffrey Hudson; his daughter, Karen Elizabeth ("Doodle") Johnson; his son, Rev. James H. (Jamie) Johnson, Jr. He also leaves his five grandchildren, Morgan Keyes, Lacy Guerlain, Lance, Lyndi and Landrey Hudson; two brothers-in-law, Charles Paschall (Betty) and Dwight Paschall (Marsha); two sisters-in-law, Rebecca Johnson (David) and Rachael McIntire; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and the one he called "his little buddy", Rambo.
The family would like to express their appreciation to Hospice of Asheville Care Partners for their compassionate care of Brother Jim with special appreciation to nurses Nan Needs and Ashley Brennan and to Dr. John Langlois and Dr. Teresa Romzick. The family would also like to express appreciation to Revonda Ingram who faithfully came to our home and groomed Brother Jim's hair for the past six years.
Funeral services will be at 1:00 p.m. Monday at West Asheville Baptist Church, Asheville, with Rev. Dr. Stan Welch and Rev. Dr. Danny Haynes officiating. Interment will follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, with Rev. Dr. Daniel Dockery officiating.
Brother Jim's body will lie in state at the church from 11:00 a.m. Monday until the service hour at 1:00 p.m.
If you choose to give something in memory of Brother Jim, the family requests that you give your life totally and unreservedly to the Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis. That is the way Brother Jim lived his life and that is what he desired most for others.