William J. Johnson

Published 1:00 pm Monday, September 28, 2015

GATESVILLE, N.C. — William Joseph “Bill” Johnson, 96, of 814 Court St., passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015.

Bill was born in Halifax County on April 16, 1919, and was the son of the late Henry Lee and Cedi Brickle Johnson.

A retired inspector with the North Carolina Department of Transportation after 48 years of employment, he was a member of Gatesville Baptist Church, the Gatesville Masonic Lodge No. 126, the Roanoke-Chowan Shrine Club. He had served on the Gates County Rescue Squad, the Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department, and was a Scout Master for many years.

For over 30 years he dressed and played the part of Santa Claus for the fire department in both the annual Gatesville Christmas Parade, and in the Saturday night before Christmas delivery of candy to the children of Gatesville.

His hobbies included gardening, wine making, wood working and tending to his bee hives.

Dearly committed to his wife and family, he had a twinkle in his eye, a pep in his step and he always, always loved to dance.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his brothers, “Chunk,” Walter, Harold, E.D. and Jesse Johnson.

Surviving are his wife of over 75 years, Dorothy Futrell Johnson; three daughters, Peggy Jean Lawrence and husband, Thomas, of Lanexa, Virginia; Judith Anne Smith and granddaughter, Holly Michelle of Gatesville;  and Billie Jo Simkins and husband, Daniel, of South Mills; six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

The funeral will be on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Gatesville Baptist Church by the Revs. Ray Brickhouse and Bob Skeens. Masonic rites will be accorded in the church. Following the service a private burial will be in the Gatesville Cemetery.

Friends may join the family in the social hall of the church immediately following the service on Tuesday, and all other times at the residence.

Miller Funeral Home, 304 Main St., Gatesville, is assisting the family with arrangements.

Online condolences may be made by visiting www.millerfhc.com.