Tom Johnson, 95, peacefully passed from this life at his home in Waxahachie on Monday, August 1, 2022, surrounded by his family after a brief illness. Tom was born in Dallas, Texas on March 10, 1927, to Virginia “Virgie” and John Johnson. At 95 years of age, Tom said he had lived a life and a half, so the family would like to share some highlights.
Tom attended schools in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas. A child of the Great Depression, Tom often said his family was lucky since his dad was a farmer so they always had fresh produce, milk, and livestock.
Tom joined the Merchant Marines in 1945 during World War II, believing this was a safer option than joining the Army. Merchant Marines did not see combat, but risked their lives supplying the various branches of the armed forces and joint operations with the tools needed to win the war. Tom was a survivor of two ships that were sunk by torpedos. Following the second ship being sunk and floating alone in the ocean for three days, Tom decided his time as a Merchant Marine was done.
After the war, Tom joined the Army and, since he had basic training from the Merchant Marines, he was put directly to work for the Army Security Agency which was the signals intelligence branch. His first duty in the ASA was taking truckloads of classified and top secret documents to be destroyed under the watch of Military Police. He was training to intercept Russian radio signals in Nome, Alaska when a physical revealed a previously undetected heart murmur so he was honorably discharged in 1947.
Tom readily admitted that he did not really have a career in mind after his Army discharge so he worked a variety of jobs from delivering bread, working for Otis elevator company, building homes, and owning car repair and resale shops. At one point he and some friends were regularly involved in car racing.
In 1948, Tom married Lula Virginia Blackmon, and together they had four children, Thomas (TJ), Tim, Barbara, and Berry.
In 1969, Tom married Jane Ann Arther, and together they had two children, Rick and Lisa. Tom was a loving husband to Jane until her death in 2015.
Tom settled into a job with the City Employees Credit Union in 1953, where he worked his way up to Vice President and General Manager. Tom graduated from the Credit Union National Association management school at the University of Wisconsin in 1966. In total, Tom worked for the credit union for 39 years, retiring in 1992. After retiring from the credit union, Tom started a business building and repairing computers. He impressed his children with his ability to pick up new technology, even texting and using his iPhone regularly up until his final illness.
Tom had many hobbies and his children will tell you that he knew at least a little about anything you could possibly ask him. He had a great sense of humor and a sharp wit which he has passed along to his children; along with a stubborn streak (which he denied) but he would admit to being “determined”.
Tom was a Past Master of the Gibraltar Masonic Lodge #1179 and was commended for more than 70 years as a Master Mason. Tom was also a Gideon. He was an excellent woodworker, enjoyed golf for many years, loved negotiating for and buying new cars every few years, spent a couple years rebuilding a Ford Model A with a dear friend, still had a group of men who he played dominos with every week, and most importantly to him, he was a good Christian man and long time member of the First Baptist Church in Waxahachie.
Tom is survived by his children and their spouses; sons Tommy (Vera), Berry, Rick (Leatta), and his daughter Lisa (George). Tom is also survived by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Tom was predeceased by his parents, his three brothers, his beloved wife of 46 years, Jane, his son Tim, and his daughter Barbara.
The family would like to thank his neighbors, his fellow church members, and numerous friends who checked in on him and helped him stay active and independent through his later years. He was overheard telling a friend recently that the only advantage to being this old is they have no peer pressure.
Memorial donations may be made in Tom’s name to Gideons International at www.gideons.org or to the charity of your choice.