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Child services leadership honors late Newton County judge
Johnson honors
The family of the late Superior Court Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. accepts a plaque from Dr. William Nesbit of McIntosh Trail Early Childhood Development Council Friday, April 23, during an event honoring Johnson at the Council’s center in Covington.

COVINGTON, Ga. — Leaders of a provider of education services to Newton County children took time out to honor the late Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. recently.

McIntosh Trail Early Childhood Development Council, including board members who were longtime family friends and relatives, hosted an event Friday, April 23, recalling the memory of Johnson who died in July 2020 after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Jackson-based McIntosh Trail operates centers offering such programs as Head Start and pre-kindergarten in seven counties, including Newton.

Board members, led by chairman Dr. William Nesbit and Covington businessman Richard Johnson, gave the family of the late judge a plaque honoring his 18 years of service as a Superior Court judge in Newton and Walton counties.

Nesbit said Horace Johnson’s leadership and community service prompted Newton County to name the county judicial center in his honor.

“He lived a life of high integrity and distinction,” Nesbit said. 

The Council tries to honor Black area residents of distinction past and present with awards around the time of Black History Month annually, Nesbit said. The county government's naming of the building for Horace Johnson shows how highly the community thought of his work, he said.   

Johnson’s pastor, Ralph L. Thompson Jr. of Columbia Drive United Methodist Church, said the late judge embodied the lesson outlined in the Parable of the Talents in the Bible’s book of Matthew.

The parable tells about a man who gives some goods to all his servants and rewards the ones who worked to increase what they were entrusted with.

“He took what he had and extended it for the good of the community and the glory of God,” Thompson said.

The judge’s mother, Lottie Johnson, 90, had first met Nesbit in 1953 when his family allowed her to live with them in Greensboro when she was a young teacher.

She said she believed her son’s “spirit is still living.”

“Thank you for honoring him. It makes me feel all my life was not in vain,” Mrs. Johnson said.