Leigh Whitfield Johnson Jr.

Published 1:30 pm Monday, August 16, 2021

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NAGS HEAD, North Carolina – Last Call came for Buddy Johnson, Aug. 7, 2021. Leigh Whitfield Johnson Jr., son of Leigh Sr. and Iva Cummings passed quietly at his home in Nags Head, North Carolina. Born Dec. 19, 1949 and reared in Franklin. Buddy is survived by his wife, Hollis; sister and brother-in-law, Laura Tee and Terry Atherton; niece and husband, Sarah and Scott Barton; nephew and wife, Leigh and Tracie Atherton.

Leigh Whitfield Johnson Jr.


Buddy’s move to Nags Head in 1980 followed his graduation from Blue Ridge High School and Virginia Commonwealth University in 1976. Since VCU did not offer a degree program in bartending, he earned a bachelors degree in sociology, the default major for so many boomers. The beach was rapidly growing upon Buddy’s arrival, so his ability to read people and mix a good drink were in great demand. Buddy happily worked at many restaurants and bars, the only requirement being working with a manager who was larger and stronger to step in if trouble erupted. While his early stops included DB Coopers, RVs, Lances and Fishmarket, he spent his last 30 years at Sam and Omie’s, his perfect job. Loved by visitors returning each year to sit at Buddy’s bar, he was adored by the home crowd, especially on Sundays, the traditional local’s night out.

In 2004, Buddy married Hollis Beloat at a small ceremony conducted by the Justice of the Peace at the magistrate’s office in the Dare County Detention Center. Their successful union of 35 years continued until Buddy’s death. After Hollis, Buddy loved his black dogs labradors, Kelly and Mona and poodle Jake Johnson. He enjoyed reading the newspaper daily, completing the crossword and following the Yankees. He loved the beach, his friends, backgammon and Gunsmoke. Hollis, his family, friends, co-workers and customers will always remember the best of Buddy: his wicked sense of humor, his heavy pour, his sly look and his fairness to all.

Plans are pending for Buddy’s memorial celebration which will be held in the fall. Condolences and fond memories may be shared with the family via the online register at www.gallopfuneralservices.com. Gallop Funeral Services Inc. was entrusted with arrangements.