Published: April 30, 2021
Edward Franklin Johnson, 90, of the Rose Hill community in Giles County, Tennessee, died April 29, 2021, following a short illness.
The son of the late Benjamin Monroe and Jimmie Gattis Johnson, Edward was born Aug. 18, 1930, in Giles County. He wed Okaleen Carvell on April 27, 1952, and the pair remained married until her death in 1996.
Edward and Okaleen were the parents of two children, Claudia Kay Johnson of Rose Hill, and Barry Keith Johnson of Colorado, who survive.
In his 90 years of life, Edward Johnson was a farmer, mechanic, craftsman, hunter, fisherman, cook, inventor, Atlanta Braves fan and a veteran of the United States Army.
He will be most remembered, however, for being a loving son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and friend.
He was a skilled woodworker, and his passion for making furniture and clocks continued until the time of his illness. He was never happier than when he had a furniture project in progress, either for his own needs or for his family or friends. He was an equally skilled auto mechanic who kept all the family vehicles and farm equipment maintained. Innately generous, he quietly practiced the belief that it is better to give than to receive, usually disappearing before any gratitude could be extended for his gifts or kind deeds.
Edward was a quiet and humble man whose life was lived in accordance with his Christian beliefs. He was a member of Highland Baptist Church, Pulaski, where over the past 40 years he served as Sunday School teacher, deacon and choir member. His Bible is frayed from use as he was a seeker, like King David, of "God's own heart," always wanting to understand more deeply the stories of the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. His life was a testimony to his faith and was in itself an unspoken sermon.
Edward retired from Frito-Lay in 1993 as a packaging specialist, where during his 30 years of service he made many lifelong friends.
Since his retirement he got up every morning in time to make himself a full breakfast, including homemade biscuits, before he started his day, which did not end many evenings until after 6 p.m. His hours were filled with projects on the farm, at his woodshop or in his kitchen. He was always planning or making something, be it a piece of furniture or a batch of jam.
Edward loved to learn, and he was constantly telling about a documentary he had watched on television, with ancient history, travel and how-to series being of particular interest. In recent years he discovered YouTube, which he watched obsessively after his regular "workday" ended. YouTube brought him many more ideas to try as he watched woodworkers, farmers, hunters, fishermen and cooks from around the world every night that the Braves weren't playing.
He is survived by his son-in-law, Danny M. Nichols of Rose Hill; a sister, Wilba Lee Featherstone of Liberty Hill; brother-in-law, C.E. Owens of Minnow Branch; sister-in-law, Martha Carvell Russell and husband Richard of Campbellsville; and sister-in-law Wylodean Peden of Campbellsville.
Edward was a committed grandfather, and his grandchildren brought him much joy. Those grandchildren include granddaughters Sasha Kay Dunavant of Rose Hill and Blair Elizabeth Johnson O’Reilly and husband Gabriel O’Reilly of Durango. Colorado; grandsons Benjamin Edward Johnson of Nashville, Tennessee, Blake Keith Johnson and wife Clara of Bayfield, Colorado, Bryce Daniel Johnson and wife Elza of Cambodia and step-grandson Michael D. Nichols and wife Amanda of Cannon County.
Great-grandchildren are Mathea, Elsa and Ziva Johnson and Elizabeth, Caleb and Casey O’Reilly. Edward’s great-granddaughter, Claudia Lux Dunavant, preceded him in death.
Edward had an unusually close relationship with his nieces and nephews, including the children of his siblings and those of Okaleen’s sisters, whom he loved equally and who all will remember him as “Uncle Ed.”
Pre-deceasing Edward were brothers Benjamin Monroe Johnson Jr. and Brooks Johnson; sisters Helen Kilgo, Mildred Owens and Dorothy Myers; and sister-in-law Geraldleen Walls.
No public memorial service will be held due to concerns regarding Covid-19. A private family service is planned. Burial is in Rose Hill Cemetery, where he is laid to rest alongside four generations of Johnson family members.
Memorials in honor of his extraordinary life may be sent to the Rose Hill Cemetery Maintenance Fund, 10309 Campbellsville Road, Pulaski, Tennessee.
Carr & Erwin Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.