Melvin Hollis Johnson Sr., 74, of Tiger passed away Oct. 28 after an extended battle with cancer.
The son of Clause and Lucille Johnson, he was born in 1935 in Lumpkin, the seventh of 10 children. Growing up on a small West Georgia farm, Melvin developed a love for God, family and agriculture that would shape his entire life. Mr. Johnson graduated from ABAC in 1955. He paid for school by feeding chickens on the school farm and washing dishes in the dining hall, two things he said he would never do again when he left the family farm in pursuit of higher education, learning never to say never. He then graduated from The University of Georgia with a B.S. in agricultural education. He later earned his Specialist Degree in the same field. Mr. Johnson faithfully served Georgia’s agricultural education program for 42 years as an educator in Berrien County, the State FFA/FCCLA Camp Director and as state director of Agricultural Education.
For his lifetime of service he received many awards including being inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame, being honored as National Outstanding State Supervisor for Ag Education in 1999 and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National FFA organization. In addition a cabin was built and dedicated in his honor at the State FFA/FCCLA Camp on January 16, 2009. In June 1963 Mr. Johnson married Reba Rowan who served by his side throughout his career in agriculture as well as being dedicated parents to their two sons Melvin Hollis Johnson Jr. and Scott Reese Johnson. Together they taught their children to love God as well as family and to develop a strong work ethic.
Their family grew as they unofficially adopted and mentored children throughout their life including Mark Warren, Todd Erliwine and numerous nieces and nephews. One of his favorite verses was Luke 2:52. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." Melvin lived his life with this model in mind. He often shared his words of wisdom with family and friends. Many conversations began with the words "Now you can do what you want to but…."
Surviving are Melvin’s legacy lives on through children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and others that he impacted with his belief "one serves God by serving others."
A celebration of his life will be at three memorial services: 5 p.m., Nov. 12, First Baptist Church, Nashville; 3 p.m., Nov. 14, Liberty Baptist Church, Tigner; 3 p.m., Nov. 28, the State FFA/FCCLA Camp, Covington. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the FFA Foundation, P.O. Box 237, Swainsboro, GA 30401, your local chapter of the American Cancer Society, or to the Philadelphia Sunday School Class, 2206 Bridge Creek Road, Tiger, Ga. 30576.