Piedmont - Funeral services for Prentiss VanSant Johnson, 81, will be Friday, March 8, 2013, at 2 p.m. at K.L. Brown Funeral Home & Cremation Center Chapel in Jacksonville with the Rev. Jim Wilson, the Rev. Larry McGathy, Dr. Dave Roberts and Dr. Mike Owens officiating. Burial will be in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens with full military honors. The family will receive friends at the funeral home this evening from 6-8 p.m. Mr. Johnson died Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at his residence. He is survived by his wife, Lenora Johnson, of Piedmont; three sons, Van Johnson, of Birmingham, Bill Johnson, of Huntsville, and Greg Johnson, of White Plains; chosen daughters, Michelle, Andrea, and Amy; one sister, Sue Johnson McGathy, of Piedmont; one brother, Verlon Johnson, of Piedmont; three grandchildren, Olivia, Kaylee and Emily; five nieces and four nephews. Honorary pallbearers will be Steel Magnolias and The Men of Steel. In 1932, Prentiss was born in a wood frame house built by his dad in 1929. At the age of 8 years old, lying in the bed he shared with his younger brother, and seeing snow blow through the cracks and collect at the foot of their bed, Prentiss determined that when he got big, he would live in a better house. At that time a passion began to develop that Prentiss would become a house builder. As a teenager, Prentiss kept mortar for the bricks his dad laid. When only a green country boy, he was drafted during the Korean Conflict
. Test given by the Army
revealed that Prentiss had a brilliant mind. The U.S. Army appealed to Prentiss to allow them to send him to Officer's Training School, but Prentiss was determined to build houses. At the age of 22, with active military service behind him, Prentiss borrowed $2000 and started W.A. Johnson & Sons Construction Company. After Mr. Johnson's death, the company name became, Johnson Brothers Construction Company. Both Prentiss and his brother, Verlon, had sons who wanted to work with their Dad. Prentiss and Greg Johnson named their company, Johnson Construction Company. Not long after discharge from the Army Prentiss joined the Piedmont National Guard. Through the years, Prentiss served as Hul Technician Chief in the Gadsden Naval reserve, then becoming Platoon Sergeant in the Piedmont National Guard, finally retiring after 38 years service to this country. Prentiss retired at the age of 74 from the construction business he started at age 22, In 2002, Prentiss was named an Honored Professional in the National Register's Who's Who in Executives and Professionals 2002 edition. During his 52 year career, Prentiss was partner in the building business that built 400 to 500 houses as well as commercial buildings, including the Winn Dixie Shopping Center in Piedmont. Gregerson's Groceries now owns that food store. Prentiss was preceded in death by a sister, Lavenia and by his Mom and Dad, William and Jewell Johnson. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Steel Magnolias, P.O. Box 36, Jacksonville, AL 36265. Online condolences to the family at: www.klbrownfuneralhome.com.
K.L. Brown Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 322 Nisbet St., N.W., Jacksonville, AL 36265 256-435-7042