Jim Johnson

[2 MAY 1933 - F1 - 20461 - 30 NOV 2015]

Jim Johnson Eulogies

AOG Testimonials



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Jan Kennebeck - Joe and Diana Davis - Jim and Jo Johnson -
Carole and Don Buchwald [F-1: 55th Reunion]



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F-1: Jim Johnson's - Buchwald's - Joe Davis' - Kennebeck's -
Maren Palmer and Sanderson [55th Reunion - May 2010]



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Class Aide and Jim Johnson
[55th Reunion - May 2010]



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Jo Johnson - Dick and Sandy Wargowsky
[55th Reunion - May 2010]



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Jim Johnson and Bill Haas
[55th Reunion - May 2010]



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Jim and Jo Johnson - Ed Zaborowski
[55th Reunion - May 2010]



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Jo Johnson - Sara and Al Coleman
[55th Reunion - May 2010]



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Jim Ryan and Jim Johnson
[55th Reunion - May 2010]



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Hadly - Hinrichs - Jim Johnson - Auer - Polly
Giddings - Bill Anderson - Gamble - ? [50th Reunion]



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Rear: Joe Davis - Sanderson - Buchwald - Kennebeck - Jim Johnson - Whittaker - Hadly - Drummond - Front: Auer - Bill Graham - Dave Young - Polly [F-1: 50th Reunion]



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Jim Ryan (soloist) - Capt Barry Drewes (conductor) - Other 55er's: Farrington - Sutton - Jerry Brown - Jim Johnson - Cosca [Glee Club @ NYC Center Theater - MAR 1955]



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F-1 Firsties - 1st Row: Becker - Gilpatrick - Joe Davis - Whittaker - Walt Ryan - Sanderson - 2nd Row: Buchwald - Jim Johnson - Terrio - 3rd Row: Bill Graham - Gunderson - LeCates - Polly - 4th Row: Auer - Hadly - Drummond (CO) - Dave Young - Kennebeck



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Rudzki - Gilpatrick - Jim Johnson - Carrington - ? -
Town - Instructor - Cathey [1952]



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2012 AOG Online Register Entry

Register Glossary



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James Benson Johnson

James Benson Johnson was born on 2 May 1933 in Alderson, West Virginia and appointed to West Point from the 5th Congressional District of West Virginia. He entered on 3 July 1951 and was in Company F 1. He was on the Track Squad his 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st class years and on the Cross Country Squad his 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st class years. He graduated on 7 June 1955 and commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force.


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James Benson Johnson

ALDERSON — Rev. Dr. James Benson Johnson, age 82, of Alderson, W.Va., formerly of Fairmont, W.Va., passed away on Monday, November 30, 2015 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, Va.

Born May 2, 1933, to the late Rev. Dr. Randolph F. and Jeannette Price Johnson in the family home near Williamstown, W.Va., his early years were spent in Philadelphia, Pa., Hurricane, W.Va., and Alderson where he completed high school. He received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Upon graduation in 1955 he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He and Josephine Elizabeth Parker of Alderson were wed and he embarked on a career in the Air Force as a tactical fighter pilot, instructor pilot and Senior Military Training Officer.

Feeling a call to ministry, he completed graduate degrees at Crozer Theological Seminary and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as doctoral studies at Colgate Rochester Divinity School and West Virginia University. In 1966 he was called to the First Baptist Church of Fairmont, W.Va., where he served for 29 years.

A leader in the community and his denomination, he served as President of the Greater Fairmont council of Churches, the Rotary Club of Fairmont, the WV Baptist Foundation for Campus Ministry, the WV Baptist Convention, the WV Baptist Historical Society and the American Baptist Churches USA, and was chosen by the American Baptist Churches in the USA to serve during 1998 and 1999 as its 73rd President. In 1981 Alderson-Broaddus honored him in the conferral of an honorary Doctor of Divinity.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Josephine P. Johnson of Alderson; a daughter, Cathy Johnson Graham and her husband, R. Neal Graham, of Richmond, Va.; a son, James B. Johnson II and his wife, Elaine Coates Johnson, of Arlington, Va.; four grandchildren, Caitlin O’Dwyer of Richmond, Va., Jennifer Lyne Johnson of San Francisco, Calif., Tyler Neal Graham of Newport News, Va., and Kellie Elizabeth Johnson of Arlington, Va.; a brother, Randolph Johnson and his wife, Susan Johnson, of Monroe County, W.Va.; two sisters, Joanne Frazier and her husband, Clifton Frazier, of Union, W.Va., and Carolyn Dixon of Bedford, Va.; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 2 p.m. at the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, Alderson, W.Va. Burial will follow at the Alderson Cemetery, Alderson.

Friends may call Saturday, December 5, 2015 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, Alderson.

Family and friends will serve as pallbearers.


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James Benson Johnson
Class of 1955

James Benson Johnson was born to the Rev. Randolph F. and Jeannette Price Johnson in the ancestral home overlooking the Ohio River at Boaz, West Virginia. The second of four children, he attended the Alderson, WV, High School. While there he was selected to the WV All-State Band to the All-State Chorus, was elected an officer of the WV Baptist Youth Board, was active in drama, sports, producing the high school newspaper, and president of the senior class.

During his junior year his highly-decorated combat-pilot uncle asked "Have you ever thought about going to West Point?" That suggestion resulted in his seeking and being granted a Congressional appointment for 1950 that he declined, with the request that he be considered in another year. He entered Marshall University where he worked in the student union, was a member of the marching band, won a starting place on the track team, acted in College Theater, and was elected to Student Council. In the spring term (somewhat to his surprise) a second letter of appointment as a third alternate arrived. On July 3, 1951, now with a principal appointment, he entered the Corps of Cadets.

He greatly enjoyed the historical orientation to the Academy, the physical and military training during new cadet barracks, while enduring its rigors. At the beginning of the fall term he joined the Cadet Glee Club and also began a four year involvement with cross-country, indoor and outdoor track. In their first two-mile relay, Lew Olive, Vince Singer, Lou Crandall and Jim earned their numerals by setting a new plebe record.

One reason for choosing the year at Marshall had been to shore up a perceived lack of solid grounding in math. By the alphabetical luck of the draw Jim roomed with Jim Hughes, whose mathematical prowess and teaching skills were soon known to all. Two months later, when Jim was in the last (twenty-eighth) section, and written partial review exams were returned, his was not. The instructor explained that the department had never had a last section member max an exam, so they were keeping this one! Thanks to Jim Hughes, by the second month of his yearling year, Jim Johnson had climbed to third section.

The Glee Club experience was especially meaningful. Singing in Carnegie Hall, University Hall Boston, at the NY Athletic Club, on the Kate Smith, Ed Sullivan and First Army Hour television shows, and meeting and conversing with many accomplished persons, some on several occasions, such as Eddie Fisher, Teresa Brewer, Andre Segovia, Marge and Gower Champion, Margarite Piazza, General Maxwell Taylor, and to experience the talents of Jose and Amparo Iturbi and many others.

Also significant was successful surgery during the third year to re-attach a kidney that had torn loose in sports - and watching from his clinic window the filming of the "Long Grey Line".

Following graduation, on June 25, 1955, he and Josephine Elizabeth Parker, his "one and only" of seven years, were united in marriage by his father in their home church in Alderson. On August 12, with a newly purchased mobile home, they arrived in Mission, Texas for flight school, and there got to know many families native to Mission through their involvement in the Baptist Church. Jim even was given a job offer to become a COO! But they moved in March to single-engine basic training in Greenville, MS, where, on April 27, Jim II was welcomed into the family.

All went well until July - four weeks before graduation - when Jim, on an out-and-back to Craig AFGB, several minutes into an after-dark flight, experienced a flameout. He made his first night landing in a jet without the benefit of an engine. He chose to approach downwind and "hot" so as not to be short of the runway. There was not time to change the arresting barrier, and the T-33 passed through a large mound of earth left by construction crews on the overrun, which caused ruptured tanks and fire. Jim evacuated through my fire, then helped the unconscious behind-the-lines pilot in the rear seat to get away. Determined to graduate with his class despite having second and third degree burns on sixty percent of his body, he returned to the cockpit, burns, bandages and all, in less than two weeks, and with the help of his instructors and a heavy flying schedule met all requirements and graduated third in his flight.

Choosing a flight instructor pilot assignment so as more quickly to increase his proficiency, experience and hours, he attended Basic Instructor School at Craig and became a "Red Hat" at Greenville. His personal goal was that every student he trained, on the flight evaluations done by others, would score above average. All did but one. Early in his second year of instructing he was recognized for having obtained an overall rating of excellent in all phases of the basic single-engine jet pilot training program standardization program.

In 1958 a daughter was born, Cathy Ann. The family also became active in the Calvary Baptist Church where he taught a boy's class, worked with the Boy Scout Troop, and was elected by the congregation to become a Deacon. During that year he also considered his long-term life work. After much research, hours of conversations with his father and others, and prayer, he determined to attend theological school. His church licensed him to preach and he resigned his regular commission to begin schooling in Philadelphia, PA, in September. With his discharge on August 25, 1959, he was given orders assigning him to the AF Reserve and promoting him to Captain.

Jim completed graduate degrees at Crozer Theological Seminary and the University of Pennsylvania, and, later, doctoral studies at Colgate Rochester Divinity School and West Virginia University. In 1966 he was called to the First Baptist Church of Fairmont, WV, where he served for 29 years.

A leader in the community and his denomination, he served as President of the Greater Fairmont council of Churches, the Rotary Club of Fairmont, the WV Baptist Foundation for Campus Ministry, the WV Baptist Convention, the WV Baptist Historical Society, and was chosen by the American Baptist Churches in the USA to serve during 1998 and 1999 as its 73rd President.

In 1981 Alderson-Broaddus honored him in the conferral of an honorary Doctor of Divinity.

Jim passed away November 30 in Richmond, Virginia, was returned to Alderson, WV, for his funeral at the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, December 5, and laid to rest, surrounded by family and friends, under the colors of black, gold and gray at the Alderson Cemetery.

Memorial Article
West Point Association of Graduates


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