Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
William Otha Johnson, SSgt., USAF
April 22, 1938 – September 01, 2020
Graveside services for Bishop William Otha Johnson, 82, of Munford were Thursday September 3, 2020 at 11:00am at Oxford Memorial Gardens with Rev. Bobby Brooks officiating.
Brother Bill passed away September 1, 2020 at St. Vincent’s East in Trussville.
Brother Bill is survived by his wife, Joyce Graben Johnson, daughters, Dena (Missy) & Doug Reed, Rachel & Jack Downey & Son Mark Johnson, Grandchildren: Brian Wycoff, Devon Wright, Brannon Reed, Andrew Abernathy, James Chadwick Abernathy, Jordan Abernathy & 6 Great grandchildren. Stepdaughters, Robbie & Darryl Ginn, Renee & Bruce Rice, Christina & Andrew Simmons, Stepson Ryan & Christina Hicks, Grandchildren: Rachael Ginn Blalock, Hunter Ginn, Cheyenne Rice, Brigitte Ashley, Marilyn Burke, Taylor Simmons, Ansley Simmons, Christian & Gabriel Hicks.
Brother Bill is preceded in death by his parents Otha Bush & Ada Elliott Johnson.
Brother Bill served in the Air Force for 8 years. He was in Helicopter Rescue Missions in Vietnam (don’t you know that chopper sounded sweet to a solider needing help). Brother Bill completed 104 Rescue Missions in enemy territory. As with the other soldiers, he was exposed to Agent Orange that compromised the health of these soldiers. Sargent Johnson received the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal for the rescue of a pilot down on a beach next to a cliff in extremely dangerous conditions. Also, he was given the Humanitarian Air Medal for rescuing a family and their fishing vessel in the Pacific Ocean in a storm. The Air Force helicopter towed their fishing vessel to shore. The family literally kissed the crew’s feet for saving their lives and livelihood.
After returning to Alabama, Brother Bill gave his life to Jesus at the Valley View Church of God in Sylacauga. Later, he was called into the ministry. Brother Bill pastored several churches in the state including Friendship Christian Academy/Church. Brother Bill’s last years were spent at the Colonel Robert Howard Veteran Home in Pell City, Alabama. He shared the love of Jesus with the other men and the nurses. He was always ready to pray over a need or sing to a lonely heart. The VA nurses give excellent care seeing to the happiness of each VA resident. Due to the COVID-19, families have been separated from their loved ones in nursing homes. We personally thank the VA Staff for filling in the gap in all these Veterans’ lives. Even though the family could not be with Brother Bill when he went to the hospital with the virus, the hands of a loving nurse were on Brother Bill’s hands when he went to Heaven. Brother Bill was not alone.
We want to give special appreciation to those at the nursing home and the hospital during this strange and difficult time. Let’s celebrate this life of Brother Bills, may the circle of friends be complete when we all go to Heaven. Published by The Anniston Star on Sep. 4, 2020.
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