James Matt Johnson Sr. James Matt Johnson Sr., known as "J.J.", was born October 31, 1928 in Lott, Falls County, Texas. He is the oldest of six children born to the union of Marvin and Mary Paul Johnson. He accepted Christ at an early age and joined the China Grove Baptist Church in Lott, Texas. James was educated in the Falls County school system and graduated from Booker T Washington High School in 1950. James served his country during the Korean War. He received the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal and was honorably discharged in 1952. After his discharge from the army, James married the former Bernice Shaw of Falls County Texas on December 1, 1952 in Ft Worth, Texas. Two days after their wedding the couple traveled by train to California and a new life. Upon arrival in Tulare they lived with relatives, Tilton and Della Hailey. James attended the College of the Sequoias on the GI Bill while working at Bob Fuller service station. He went on to start his own business, J. J.'s Janitorial Service. He later worked for Tulare Joint Union High School District and retired in 1991 after 22 years. James was very active in the community. He was a Little League coach, a member of the NAACP, and Amvets Post 56. He received numerous awards and certificates including Tulare Senior Community Volunteer of the Year. He was also a member of Brooks Chapel A.M.E Church where he served as a trustee and an usher. James enjoyed talking with friends and strangers. He was known for his quick wit and wonderful sense of humor. He often told stories of his childhood growing up on a farm and his days in the army. His greatest joy was spending time with his family. He truly loved being surrounded by kids and grandkids on holidays and his annual barbecues. James passed away peacefully in his home on the evening of December 6, 2012. He was preceded in death by his parents Marvin and Mary Johnson; one brother, Alvern Johnson, and one sister, Mary Thompson. He is survived by his wife of 60 years Bernice Johnson; two sons: James M. Johnson Jr. (Juanita) and Marvin C. Johnson; one daughter: Sharon J.Styles; two grandsons: Darcy L. Johnson (Amy) and James M. Johnson III (Christina); one granddaughter: Deidra J. Nelson; one brother: Milton C. Johnson Sr.; two sisters: Para Nell Hurd and Para Lee Williams; ten beautiful great-granddaughters: Jasmine Johnson, Janessa Johnson, Jesalyn Johnson, Janelle Johnson, Taylor Nelson, Jaelyn Nelson, Sierra Nelson, Jayda Johnson, Jenesis Johnson and Asiah Johnson. He also leaves a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. Visitation will be held at Sterling & Smith Funeral Home, 415 N. K St., December 13, 2012, at 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm with family hour 6:00-7:00. Service will be held December 14, 2012 at Brooks Chapel AME Church, 701 S. U Street at 10:00 a.m. Burial will be at North Tulare Cemetery, 4462 N. J Street. Arrangement entrusted to Sterling & Smith Funeral Home, Tulare.
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Published in Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Adv-Register on Dec. 12, 2012