James "Poppa" Johnson
COLUMBIA -- Funeral services for Mr. James "Poppa" Johnson, 80, of 407 Lost Creek Drive, Columbia, will be held at 12 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, at Simmons Funeral Home Chapel, 2868 Columbia Road, Orangeburg, with interment to follow in Belleville Memorial Gardens. The Rev. Dr. Charcey Priester is officiating.
James Wade Johnson, affectionately called "Poppa," son of the late John Henry and Martha Baker Johnson was born on Oct. 12, 1940, in Orangeburg. After living 80 wonderful years, always happy and singing, he departed this life on Dec. 24, 2020, surrounded by his loved ones.
James was educated in the public school system of Orangeburg and graduated with the Wilkinson High School class of 1960. He also attended Claflin University and Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College.
At an early age, James gave his life to the Lord and became a member of Shiloh Baptist Church In Orangeburg. He later joined St. Paul Baptist Church and was a dedicated and faithful member. He loved to sing and was a member of St. Paul's Mass Choir and Male Chorus and served as chairman over St. Paul's Sports Ministry.
James joined the Orangeburg Public Safety Department, and as a proud member of service, he showed a strong sense of dedication to the community he served and took great pride in his policing duties. James rose through the ranks of leadership to Captain until his retirement. After retirement, James ran and was elected Sheriff of Orangeburg County and was well respected by the citizens he served in the department's community police program.
Poppa, along with coach James Williams, founded the Orangeburg Track Club. They competed throughout the United States, winning numerous medals and honors. Poppa truly cherished his time with the kids and providing opportunities they would not otherwise experience. The community truly
appreciated his efforts teaching the children about competition and their travels throughout the United States displaying all their acquired skills. Poppa loved sports, but more than sports, he loved the kids. May his voice of encouragement continue to echo in all their hearts.
James leaves to cherish his memories his loving and devoted wife of 60 years, Mary Ruth; children, Montez L. Johnson Sr. (Rose), Dinita M. Johnson, Rodney W. Johnson (Lillian), and Duane A. Johnson (Faith); brothers, Ezekiel Johnson, Wade Johnson (Miyoka); grandchildren, Montez L. Johnson Jr., Essence Cook Phillips, Braeden Johnson, Miechelle Johnson, Reese Johnson, Etima Cook Sanders, Cyril Davis, Reyhnard Butler and Bernard Butler; nine great-grandchildren; loving uncle, Sam Baker of Washington, D.C.; three brothers-in-law, Robert L. Keith, Eugene (Rose) Keith, Thomas (Loretta) Keith; sister-in-law Sadie M. Culler; lifelong best friend, Willie Keitt; and a host of relatives, friends and loved ones.
Visitation will be held Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, from 1 to 7 p.m.
Friends may call at the residence of his son, Mr. Rodney Johnson, 1964 Taylor Blvd., Orangeburg, or Simmons Funeral Home and Crematory of Orangeburg.
Please adhere to all COVID-19 precautions.
Online condolences may be sent to www.simmonsfuneralhome.com