Obituary for Tues., Oct. 25, 2016

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Kenneth R. Johnson

Dr. Kenneth R. Johnson was born Dec. 10, 1927, to Mattie Bass Johnson and John Henry Johnson, in the logging community of Falco, in Covington County, Ala.

1025-krj-portraitAn Army veteran, Dr. Johnson served nearly three years in Korea. He earned degrees from Troy State Teachers College (BS-Social Studies Education), the University of Alabama (MA-School Administration), and Florida State University (MS and PhD-History). Later, he engaged in post-doctoral research in the field of Black Studies with Dr. John Hope Franklin at the University of Chicago.

He taught in public schools, Young Harris College, and Florida State University. In 1966, Dr. Johnson joined the faculty at the University of North Alabama, teaching several different history courses, specializing in Southern History and Alabama History and later becoming head of the history department. He retired in 1996 and held the title of professor emeritus.

Dr. Johnson researched, wrote and published several articles about southern history with an emphasis on the Muscle Shoals area. In the 1970s he joined with other local historians and began the Journal of Muscle Shoals History. He is the author of Life in the Muscle Shoals, a comprehensive history of the Shoals.

In 1994 Dr. Johnson and others interested in Methodist history organized the North Alabama Methodist Conference Historical Society. He served as president of this Society for several years.

An active member of the community, Dr. Johnson participated and led in many organizations including the Florence chapter of Civitan International, the Tennessee Valley Historical Society (president), Florence Historical Board, Alabama Humanities Foundation (president), Alabama Historical Association (president), Southern Historical Association (Lifetime Member), Florence Federal Credit Union Board of Directors, Friends of the Public Library and Edgemont United Methodist Church.

Dr. Johnson was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the UNA Alumni Association and the Wheeler Archives and History Award by the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church as well as a member of Phi Kappa Phi.

A devoted son and brother, Dr. Johnson was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Dudley Sadie Johnson, and sister, Monia Ruth Johnson.

Dr. Johnson was also a loving husband, father and uncle survived by his wife, Marilyn Simmons Johnson; his daughters, Sally Ruth Johnson and Nancy Ann Johnson (Todd) and grandchildren, Vivian Nichole Johnson-Pierson and Roland Daniel Johnson-Pierson. He was also devoted to his surviving nephews, John Taft Johnson (Karen) and Dudley Franklin Johnson; great nephew, Christopher Daniel Johnson (Kathryn) and great niece, Julia Adele Johnson.

Johnson, 88, died Mon., Oct. 17, 2016. The funeral was Thurs., Oct. 20, at Edgemont United Methodist Church, and burial the following day in Beda Cemetery, in Covington County.

Donations may be made to the Department of History Scholarship Fund at the University of North Alabama or the Florence Lauderdale Public Library.