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
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 in the class of 1950. 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
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.