Edward L. Johnson

Published 12:32 pm Monday, June 3, 2024

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NEWSOMS – Edward Lee Johnson, 70, passed away suddenly on May 29, 2024. Born Aug. 12, 1953, in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina and raised in Boykins, Virginia, he was a son of the late John Ellis Johnson and Edith Mae Vinson Johnson. He was predeceased by two brothers, infant James Wade Johnson and John Ellis Johnson Jr.

Edward L. Johnson

Edward attended Southampton High School and was in the class of 1972. Known by his friends and coworkers as “Ed,” he was employed as a welder in the maintenance department at Union Camp Corporation/International Paper for 36 years, retiring in 2010 due to the closing of the mill. He then was employed at Norfolk Naval Shipyard and retired after 11 years. His time there was spent repairing nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, the backbone of our nation’s naval defense. Ed was a highly-skilled welder known to make on-site repairs on farms and large equipment throughout the community utilizing his side business, Ed’s Welding Service and he would also craft metalwork items for decoration.

In his father’s footsteps, Edward was a second generation volunteer firefighter. He served as a member of Boykins Volunteer Fire Department and joined Newsoms Volunteer Fire Department in 1989, where he was active for over 30 years. In Newsoms, he held positions such as assistant chief and chief engineer and received awards including Fireman of the Year and the Chief’s Award. During this time, he also served as president for the Southampton County Fire and Rescue Association and was a certified Virginia Fire Instructor, influencing a great deal of young people who would go on to become volunteer and professional firefighters.

A Dodge man, Ed had a love for fast cars since he was a young boy. He had many tales to tell about his days drag racing in Boykins and at the North Carolina line, souping up cars and his 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger. This experience led him to be part of the crew for StoryTime Racing at Southampton Motor Speedway.

As an avid outdoorsman, Ed loved to hunt deer and especially groundhogs, which he even showed off on his pickup’s license plate, HOGHNTR. He trained the family rat terriers, Butch and Buster, to be his squirrel dog companions and raised litters of rat terriers for 16 years. He may have loved fishing even more, spending countless hours taking his family and friends bass fishing on the Nottoway and Blackwater, traveling to Coinjock with the guys and catfishing on the James.

In recent years, Ed had become quite the pool shark, joining the American Poolplayers Association for league pool and playing on teams in tournaments in Hampton Roads. He was known to be a bit of a rebel, but was more so known for his work ethic, his ability to fix anything and the way he never hesitated to help others. If you knew him, he had likely fixed something or built something for you and probably fried you some catfish too.

Those who will cherish these memories and so many others, are his daughter, Ashley Noel Johnson; his son, Kyle Wade Johnson; a brother, Glenn Vinson Johnson and wife, Patricia and his former wife of 41 years, Melanie Carter Johnson. He is also survived by an uncle, J.B. Johnson, nieces and nephews James, Margaret, Carrie, Kathleen, Daniel and their families and a host of cousins and many special friends.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 7 at Wright Funeral Home with Pastor Hoyle Green officiating. The family will receive friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations be made to the Newsoms Volunteer Fire Department.