J. D. Johnson
Sequoyah High School ~ Student 1940s
TAHLEQUAH, Ok -- Funeral services for James Dee “J.D.” Johnson (Seq. Class of 1949), age 80, will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, September 19, 2008, at the Hart Funeral Home of Tahlequah, with Reverend Bill Holcomb officiating. Interment will follow at 1:00 P.M. at the Fort Gibson National Cemetery in Ft. Gibson, OK. Services have been entrusted to Hart Funeral Home of Tahlequah.
His great grandsons and nephews will serve as his pallbearers.
J.D. Johnson was born the son of Charley and Lucy (Cochran) Johnson on July 27, 1928 in Stilwell, OK. His mother passed away when J.D. was only eight years old and he attended Sequoyah Vocational School , in Tahlequah, Okla.
Upon graduating, he served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict from 1950 until 1952. After receiving his honorable discharge, J.D. attended Bacone College and Northeastern State University from 1952 until 1957, graduating with his B.S. in Industrial Arts and his Masters in Education Administration.
During this time, J.D. served as the principal at Rocky Ford Elementary School. Starting in 1960 he taught math in Gallup, New Mexico, and later as an Industrial Arts Teacher in Tulsa. From 1966 till 1968, J.D. served as the Director of the Cherokee Hills Skill Center in Stillwater, OK.
In 1968, J.D. accepted the post of Deputy Principal Chief during the term of Principal Chief Keeler and worked to set up the formation of the Cherokee Nation. He assisted in setting up health programs, the housing authority, as well as the Cherokee Nation Industries. J.D. served as Chairman of the Constitutional Revision Committee and assisted in forming Community Representatives. J.D. was proud of his people and worked diligently as the Chairman of Oklahoma Indian Affairs and the Special Assistant to Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butts.
In 1976, J.D. married the love of his life, Betty Aline Hemphill in Miama, OK.
From 1977 to 1992, J.D. worked as a Field Auditor for the Oklahoma Tax Commission in Oklahoma City. In 1993, he formed the J.D. Johnson Construction Company and worked to renovate low-cost housing in Northeastern Oklahoma.
When he wasn’t working, J.D. loved fiddling and judging fiddling contests. With a workshop in his backyard, he built most anything wanted from wood. He was a fifty year member of the Cherokee Masonic Lodge #10. Out of all his activities, his time spent with his wife, children, and grandchildren was most precious to him. He loved to take them fishing or spend the afternoon just talking. He attended First Baptist Church of Tahlequah and was of the Baptist faith. His family and many friends will truly miss this wonderful man.
J.D. Johnson passed from this life on Monday, September 15, 2008. He is preceded in death by his Mother, Father, and two brothers, Leonard and Junior Johnson and a special grandson, Jon White.
Those left to cherish his memory include his wife of thirty years, Betty of the home. He also leaves behind two children, Sandy Gillespie and husband Dennis of Jefferson, TX, and Steven Rollins of Denver, CO; six loving brothers and sisters, Henry, Denver, Sammie Joe , and Kenny Johnson, all of Stilwell, OK; two sisters, Mary Jane and Ed Limore of Stilwell, OK, and Violet Still of Gore, OK. J.D. has four beloved grandchildren, Mindy Branch and husband Chuck of McKenney, TX, Gina Downey and husband Steve of Ford, KS, Diane Porter and husband Jim of Hugeton, KS, and Christopher Gillespie and wife Kristy of Montezuma, KS. J.D.’s adored great grandchildren include Mia, Kalin, and Emma Branch, Claire and brother Colton Downey, Gracie and brother C.J. Porter, Marshall and brother Glenn Gillespie, Justin Dodson, Dayne Dodson and wife Chelsea, Jonathan, Steven, and Michael White and Rhianna Webb. There are also many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and loved ones.
Those considering an expression of sympathy are asked to consider The American Heart Association, 2227 East Skelly Drive, Tulsa, OK 74105.
Hart Funeral Home ~ 1506 N Grand Ave Tahlequah, OK 74464 ~ (918) 456-8823.
Alumni Reunion 1999 ~ Fifty years since graduation, the Class of 1949 have returned to Sequoyah.
J.D. Johnson, Betty Jo Craig, Pauline Sam, Joe Sanders, Cherokee Miller, Leatrice Dick and Eva Rider.