Raymond O. Johnson, Sr.

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2006

January 27, 2006

Raymond O. Johnson, Sr., 73, passed away Jan. 27, 2006 at Obici Hospital.

He was born on August 9, 1932, in Suffolk to the late Horace P. Johnson, Sr. and Mildred Boothe Johnson. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Clyde C. Johnson and H. Philip Johnson, Jr.


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Raymond is survived by his devoted wife of 53 years, Anna Jett Johnson; his sons Raymond O. Johnson, Jr. and his wife, Yvonne, Timothy J. Johnson and his wife, Helen, Michael W. Johnson, Alan K. Johnson and his wife, Julie; his daughter, Susan J. Towler and her husband, Vernon; eleven grandchildren, Angela N. Johnson, Ryan S. Johnson and his wife, Mary Beth, Thomas J. O’Connor, IV, T. Jamison (Jamie) Johnson, Jett R. Johnson, Dustin F. Evans, Chelsea R. Evans, Hannah R. Evans, Megan P. Johnson, Samuel M. Towler and Anna Grace Towler;

brothers, Charles W. Johnson of Suffolk and Jimmy Johnson of Sedley.

His children and grandchildren all live in Suffolk and brought Raymond great love and joy.

Raymond graduated from Chuckatuck High School in 1950 and served in the Virginia National Guard.

He worked for Vepco until 1972, when he began to devote all of his time to his entrepreneurial interests. During the 1950’s and 1960’s he supported his growing family by working three jobs, delivering newspapers for The Virginian-Pilot in the early morning, at Vepco as a meter reader during business hours and farming in the evening.

He was Vepco’s Employee of the Year in 1970.

In 1960, Raymond established Johnson’s Roadside Market selling pumpkins and later vegetables, fruit, country hams and peanuts.

By requiring his children to work in the market and on the farm, he introduced the fundamentals of business to each of his children.

In 1966, he and Anna established Johnson’s Flowers, which continues to operate today as Johnson’s Gardens under the leadership of their son, Tim.

In 1976, Raymond opened Roadside Equipment Company, which continues to operate today under the leadership of his son, Ray.

Raymond was a lifelong member of Bethlehem Christian Church, where he served in several capacities including Chairman of the Board of Finance and Church Moderator.

He was a member of the Masonic Lodge Suffolk #30, the Scottish Rites Temple and was a past president of the Bethlehem Ruritan Club.

He served for many years on the Electoral Board for Nansemond County and the City of Suffolk as captain of the Kilby Mills Precinct.

He was an ardent supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, serving on the Old Dominion Area Council Executive Board for many years.

He was the Chairman of the Bethlehem Troop 30 Committee for over 20 years and was extremely proud that seven of his sons and grandsons are Eagle Scouts.

By providing a camping facility located on his farm, he provided thousands of local scouts and other youth with the opportunity to camp, fish and enjoy nature.

Funeral services will be conducted Monday, at 2:00 p.m. at Bethlehem Christian Church with interment in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends in the R. W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home & Crematory Sunday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to the organization of your choice. Condolences may be registered at www.rwbakerfh.com.