Richard Earl Johnson, the only son of Earl Franklin and Frances Bulla Johnson, was born June 21, 1928, in Liberty, NC. Part of his childhood and several years of his later life were lived in Concord, NC, but most of his adulthood was spent in rural Randolph County and in Asheboro. He departed this earthly life for his heavenly home on May 10, 2019.
Fondly known by many as "Dick," he attended New Market Elementary School in Sophia, NC, Randleman High School, Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Ga., and UNC, Chapel Hill.
On January 6, 1951, he married Sarah Jean Hall of Randleman, and Jean has been his devoted companion and the love of his life for 68 years. They delighted in the births of three children: Deborah Jean, Frances Anita, and Richard Franklin. Family life, including grandchildren and great grandchildren, has always remained central for him; and the children of each generation adored their Papa Johnson.
Richard Earl was a smiling, upbeat presence in all phases of a very active life. With help from State College and Governor of NC team members, he spent three years designing and building one of the most modern dairies in NC. Then, after thirty-five years on the farm, he worked with Shaw Furniture Galleries of Randleman. Later, he was employed with Wal-Mart for twenty-one years, working in both Asheboro and Concord.
He helped lead the organization of the New Market Grange which enabled many to obtain medical insurance for the first time. An avid Rotarian, he served as president of the Randleman Rotary Club, served as District 769 Governor, '71/'72, and received the Paul Harris Fellow Award in recognition of outstanding leadership and unselfish service to Rotary International.
Also an enthusiastically committed democrat, he chaired the Randolph County Democratic Party and continued throughout his life to advocate for candidates and for effective ways of addressing political issues. While living in Asheboro, he enjoyed fishing at Tuckertown Lake with family and friends and riding around on his pontoon boat. He enjoyed many sing-alongs with good friends around a piano.
In 2004, he and Jean moved to Concord to care for an aunt, and he was again active at Central United Methodist Church where he had been baptized as a small child. After his aunt's death, he and Jean moved back to Randolph County. Living at Mountain Top in Asheboro, they returned to First United Methodist where they had earlier been members.
Richard Earl was predeceased by his parents and by a sister, LaRue Johnson Wright. He is survived by his wife, Jean, and their children: Debbie Allen (Terry), Anita Hemphill (William), and Rick Johnson (Diane), and by six grandchildren: Kellie Allen Brown (Clay), John Allen (Hannah); Ashley Hemphill Saenz (Efren); Jennifer Hemphill (Dale); Jessi Johnson Green (Adam), Matt Johnson (Madi), and by twelve great-grandchildren: Dayla, Bailey, and Reagan Brown; Asher, Adrielle, and Selah Allen; Ava and Harrison Saenz; Braxton Caviness; Easton and Bennett Green; and Pearl Johnson. Dick is also survived by a sister, Jane Johnson Young (Garland).
The family would like to express sincere appreciation from the help and caregiving by Wanda Stout, Betty Allmon, Jane Pressley, the staff at Mountain Top, and Hospice of Randolph County.
Friends may join the family on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 for visitation at 12:30 with the service of celebration of his life at 2:00 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, Asheboro. Memorials may be made to Asheboro Rotary Clubs Foundation, First United Methodist Church, 224 N. Fayetteville St., Asheboro, NC 27203; Central United Methodist Church, 30 Union St., Concord, NC 28025; or to Hospice of Randolph County PO box 9, Asheboro, NC 27204