SPARTANBURG, SC- James Delane Johnson, 84, of Spartanburg passed away on Feb. 28, 2020. He was born on March 18, 1935 and was the husband of Diana Bryant Johnson and the son of the late James William Johnson and Evelyn Fowler Johnson Harrison.
He graduated from Spartanburg High School and obtained a track scholarship to Presbyterian College, where he received his BA in English. He later pursued his Master's degree in Education from Converse and lacked only a few hours from completing it.
While at PC, he broke many state records in track, particularly in the 100 yard dash.
After two years as an officer in the U.S. Army with Nike Ajax, the world's first surface-to-air missile system, he returned to the upstate where he taught English and coached basketball first at Christ Church in Greenville, then at Spartanburg Day School, and then at Fairforest High before it became Dorman.
Deciding to branch out into a different career field, he became the purchasing agent for Daniels Construction. Sometime later, he became Promotions Director at WSPA, after which he worked for Williams Advertising as the account executive for Hardees.
In the early seventies, he felt called back into education and began teaching at Spartanburg Technical College. That ultimately led to his starting and running the first alternative school for delinquent youth in this area. Under the auspices of the Family Court, it was named Project S.E. L.F. (Seeking Education, Lost and Found) and was open for five years with hundreds of students passing through and obtaining a GED.
After a varied career, Delane opened an antique shop in Spartanburg called Carolina Cottage, which he ran for five years before he retired.
Delane was not only a great intellect, but was a tremendously compassionate man, who helped many people and causes over his lifetime. He had a deep respect for nature and loved all animals.
Aside from his wife of forty-four years, he leaves two sons, James Delane Johnson, II, and William David Johnson. He also has two great granddaughters, Becca and Ava Johnson.
In addition to his parents he was predeceased by his granddaughter, Suzanne Lyn Johnson.
The family wants to express their undying gratitude to Spartanburg Regional Hospice House staff for all their loving care during Delane's final days.
A celebration of Delane's life will be held at Bethel United Methodist Church, 245 S. Church St., Spartanburg, SC on Saturday, March 7, at 2:00 pm in the main sanctuary. After the service, the family will greet friends in the church parlor, where light refreshments will be served.
Memorials may be made to Bethel United Methodist Church, the Spartanburg Humane Society, or the charity of one's choice
E-condolences may be sent online at www.yarboroughmortuary.com