Joseph Howard Johnson Jr, age 83, passed away on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at the Sunrise Senior Living Center in Springfield, Virginia. He was born on May 2, 1934 in Dublin, Georgia. He was a 10 year resident of Alabaster, Alabama and prior to that a 30 year resident of Slidell, Louisiana.
Howard, as he was lovingly known, married Jean JoAnn Becker of Lockville, Ohio and had two daughters, Linda Sue Sweeney, deceased in 2005, and Susan Elaine Lucas, 58, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. His first wife, Jean, passed in 1970 of leukemia and his latest wife of 22 years, Grace, passed in January 2018 after a two year struggle with cancer. He is survived by his two grandsons, Zachary Sweeney and Patrick Lucas in addition to his daughter Elaine and son-in-law Jack Lucas.
Howard was a U.S. Air Force veteran who served during the Korean War. After 8 years of service, he left the Air Force to become a civil servant for the federal government. He began his career working on airplane engines at the Homestead Airforce Base in Florida in the 60s and later worked as Quality Assurance at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi where he oversaw work done by contractors on NASA rockets.
While living in Florida, Howard became a Mason and a member of the Biscayne Bay Lodge in Miami. He continued in the Masonic beliefs and later joined the Shriners. He was known by the Shriners in Slidell as JoJo the clown. Howard had many friends in Slidell and for a time was a member of two different Mardi Gras krewes, one in New Orleans (Pegasus) and one in Slidell (Troy).
After retirement from the federal government, Howard married Grace Blalock and upon her retirement as a teacher in the Slidell school system, they bought a motor home and traveled the country from Maine to Alaska. Howard loved to travel. Some of his travels took him to Europe with Grace and to Mexico with his daughter Elaine. Until the last 2 years, Howard continued to travel with his daughter, her family and his grandson, Zach. Howard spent his final two weeks in a warm and loving place with beautiful views of nature and his immediate family by his side reminiscing over time they spent together.
There will be a short viewing and graveside service for Howard on Friday, March 9, at 10AM at Betzer Cemetary in Carroll, Ohio where he is to be buried next to his first wife, Jean, and his daughter, Linda. Flowers may be sent to Dwayne R. Spence Funeral Home, 650 W Waterloo Street, Canal Winchester, Ohio 43110.