James Edwin Johnson, Jr.
October 24, 1929 - March 17, 2014
James Edwin Johnson, Jr. ("Jay"), 84, died peacefully in Charlotte the afternoon of March 17, 2014.
Jay was born on October 24, 1929, the son of James Edwin Johnson and Gladys Benton Johnson of Benson, NC. He graduated from Benson High School in 1945 and enrolled at Wake Forest College in Wake Forest, NC, where he joined the Kappa Sigma fraternity. In 1949, he entered Wake Forest College Law School. His studies were interrupted by service in the United States Air Force, but he returned to graduate with a LLB degree in 1956 and was admitted to the North Carolina Bar that same year. His education continued at New York University School of Law where he earned an LLM in Taxation, a legal discipline he would specialize in for the remainder of his career.
Jay's first job after school was with the Regional Counsel's Office of the Internal Revenue Service in Atlanta, Georgia, where he gained invaluable trial experience before the Tax Court of the United States. In 1962, Jay became an associate tax attorney for Hull, Willingham, Towill, Norman, one of Augusta, Georgia's prominent law firms, where he would later become a named Partner. During his 19 years in Augusta, Jay served as an elder in Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church and was active with the Augusta Exchange Club and the Hospital Authority Board. In addition, he served as Chairman of both the Tax Section and the Fiduciary Law Section of the Georgia State Bar. He was also a founder of the Southern Federal Tax Institute, a non-profit corporation whose professional conference is currently attended by more than 550 tax attorneys each year.
In 1979, Jay started a new firm in Charlotte, Johnson & Blanchfield, in order to service his growing North Carolina clientele, which included Belk Stores, Nucor Steel and North Carolina National Bank. In 1989, he merged his practice with Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice, and he remained a senior tax partner in the firm's Charlotte office until his retirement in 2005. Throughout his career, Jay was routinely selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America, an award given annually to those who had distinguished themselves in the legal profession.
While in Charlotte, Jay served as General Counsel and Board member of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. He also sat on the following boards: Carolina Healthcare Systems, Carolina Health Services Foundation, Monk- Austin, DIMON International and The Harris Foundation. In addition, he served many terms on the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees and was elected as a Life Trustee of the University in 2000.
Jay was an avid golfer who enjoyed the game and its history. He was also a frequent jokester, whose personality endeared him to a bounty of close friends and business associates. In 1974, Jay started the Wake Forest Masters Party and he continued to co-host the annual event for more than 35 years, which helped bolster strong ties, allegiance and recognition for the Wake Forest Golf program.
At the time of his death, Jay was a member of Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Quail Hollow Club and the Augusta National Golf Club, where he served as Secretary and General Counsel for several decades.
Jay was preceded in death by his devoted wife of more than forty-four years, Nancy Beck Johnson. He is survived by his three children and their respective spouses: Anne Johnson Bolt of North Myrtle Beach, SC; Jane Johnson White and William Dunlop White III of Winston-Salem, NC; and James Edwin Johnson III and Suzanne Twardeck Johnson of Little Rock, AR; plus four grandchildren: Nancy Walker White, Katherine McCrary White, Caroline Beck Johnson and James Edwin Johnson IV. Jay also had three siblings that he loved dearly: Mrs. Barbara Johnson Parnell of Raleigh, NC; Mr. Preston Benton Johnson of Spring Hill, FL; and the late Mrs. Linda Johnson Cannon of New Orleans, LA.
The family expresses heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Robert A. Heyer, Carol Dickinson, Dr. Daniel E. Haggstrom and the numerous others that provided extraordinary care for Jay during his prolonged illness.
A memorial service to celebrate Jay's life will be held at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, 2501 Oxford Place, Charlotte, NC at 11:00 AM on Thursday, March 20, 2014. The family will receive friends at the church in Oxford Hall following the service. A graveside service will be held at 11:00 AM Saturday, March 22, 2014 at Westover Cemetery in Augusta, GA.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wake Forest University, P. O. Box 7227 Reynolda Station, Winston-Salem, NC 27109 or to Carolina Healthcare Foundation, P. O. Box 32861, Charlotte NC 28232.
Arrangements are in the care of Harry & Bryant Co. in Charlotte and Elliott Sons Funeral Home in Augusta.
Condolences may be offered at www.HarryandBryantFuneralHome.com.
Published in The Sun News on Mar. 19, 2014
Arrangements under the direction of:
Harry & Bryant Funeral Home
500 Providence Road | Charlotte, NC 28207 | (704) 332-7133