Billy Joe Johnson, age 83, passed away peacefully at home in the company of his children the morning of Friday, March 1, 2013.
He was born September 22, 1929 to Chauncey and Ruth (Elliott) Johnson, and was the tenth of their thirteen children. The Johnson family lived at the Swan Creek community in Gallia County, Ohio, and later moved to Gallipolis, where Billy Joe lived the remainder of his life.
He is survived by his three children, Todd (Sheri) Johnson of Gallipolis, Jane (John) Miller of St. Joseph, MI, and Ann (Ronald Helber) Johnson of Columbus, five grandchildren, Patrick, Jennifer, and Eric Miller, and Kevan and Ryan Johnson, three sisters, Tressa Cremeens of Gallipolis, Adeline (Edmund) D’Andrea of Columbus, and Barbara (Michel) Huber of Philadelphia, as well as a great many cherished nieces, nephews and other extended family.
Billy Joe gained early local notoriety as a member of the Gallia Academy High School “Golden Era” championship football team of 1947 and 1948. He set passing and running records that remained unbroken at GAHS until the 1970’s. He was inducted into the GAHS Athletic Hall of Fame in its inaugural class in 2002, and enjoyed the many reunions with his teammates over the years.
He served four years in the US Navy, attending training at the US Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, IL, where he earned the distinction of Recruit Petty Officer in Charge. He later toured the world on the destroyer USS Remey, earning the National Defense Service Medal, China Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.
A successful local businessman, Billy Joe owned the Gallipolis Chrysler Plymouth automobile dealership during the 1960’s and 1970’s, and later directed his business energies to real estate investment. He was a member of the Grace United Methodist Church, Post 4464 of Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Gallipolis Elks Lodge #107.
In addition to his parents Billy Joe, was preceded in death by sisters: Bonnie Swindler, Pauline Clark Sheets, Opal Halley; brothers: Lowell Vance Johnson, Chauncey Kenneth Johnson, Clarence “John” Johnson, Junior Johnson, Harold Lee Johnson and Merrill Loren Johnson.
The funeral service will be held at the Cremeens Funeral Chapel in Gallipolis on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 1 p.m. Officiating will be Pastor Alvis Pollard. Calling hours are Monday, March 4, from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will be in the Pine Street Cemetery in Gallipolis. Military graveside services will be conducted by the Gallia County Veterans Services Funeral Detail Team.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Billy Joe’s memory to Holzer Center for Cancer Care, 100 Jackson Pike, Gallipolis, OH 45631. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family by visiting www.cremeensfuneralhomes.com