Charles Edward Johnson was called home to be with the Lord on Friday, October 27, 2023 at 9:11 pm, surrounded by his beloved bride of 64 years, his daughters and sons in South Fallsburg, New York.
Charles was born on April 19, 1937, to Flora Pitts (deceased) and Jake Johnson (deceased) in Uniontown, Alabama. He was 86.
Charles was educated in the public schools in Perry County, Alabama. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1956 and was discharged with an Honorable Discharge in 1962. He enjoyed being a soldier and felt strongly about serving his country here in the United States and abroad. His overseas tour was in Germany.
He married the love of his life, Lena Mae Dial, on July 18, 1959. They started their family immediately and were blessed with 5 children. They left the south and headed north to upstate New York, the Catskill Mountains.
Charles started a long career with Mountain Candy, a cigarette/cigar and candy distribution company in the 1960s. He started stamping cigarettes, then began driving trucks and delivering products, in short fashion, Charles became the foreman for the entire company and was affectionately called, “Candyman.” He worked long hours during the week, weekends and even holidays. He opened and closed the company and was the first on the scene whenever a burglar alarm would sound. He exemplified an incredible work ethic: always on time, giving 110% wherever the company needed him and always with a warm, genuine smile that lit up any room. He hired, trained and groomed employees who learned and grew professionally and personally. His impact on his employees, customers and vendors alike engendered a nickname that is still used today, “Bossman.” Charles retired from Mountain Services in 1999.
He spent the last 24 years focusing on his family. He had always been a strict disciplinarian, expecting the best from all of his children and not accepting anything mediocre. He parted wisdom frequently and his children fondly remember his sage advice, “think twice, before you speak once.” He was a generous soul who would share and even give the shirt off his back to those in need. He would often invite people from the street to spend time with the family, sharing a home cooked meal specially prepared by Lena and beverages of choice. He spent much time encouraging his children in their pursuits. He attended school events, college events, law school events, and swearing in and promotion ceremonies. He was very proud of his family. He was also supportive of extended family members and friends, blessing them with “loans” that he would never collect, and with food, clothes, tools, etc. His infectious laugh and bright presence were known whenever he went. He enjoyed fishing and would spend hours at the local lakes with his family, demonstrating how to catch a big bass and reel it all the way in, onto the bank and how to catch catfish or bullheads at night with a tight line and a flashlight. He even used spears to catch silver fish in the evening hours. Charles was also a marksman, having honed his skills in the military, plus he collected weapons. In his retirement, he enjoyed traveling across country by car and attending the many JOHNSON Family Reunions in Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. He enjoyed driving his cars as much as he enjoyed the reunions. In his youth, he would rebuild engines and was well known for driving fast cars, fast. He was also known for the immaculate condition of his cars, always clean inside and out, with glistening tires and rims, and a perfect wax job that would force a rag to slide off the hood.
Charles loved children and spent a lot of time with his grandchildren. He was a very affectionate man and one of his grandchildren called him, “Squeeze.” Other names of endearment used by his grands are, “Peepaw,” “Papaw,” “Granddad,” and “Grandpa.”
Charles worked very hard to earn a living so that his children, his children’s children and their children would not have to work so hard. He stressed getting a good education. He stressed not trying to be as good as he was, but to be better than he was. Charles was masterful with managing his money and would teach his children the same discipline. He ensured that they did not waste anything. He understood the value of the dollar and would remind his children when they left the light on in an empty room or let the water run longer than they needed or left food on their plates because they didn’t like what had been cooked. Charles protected his family and was always there when they encountered trouble. Even though his children have been grown for many years now, he still would say to them when they parted his presence that he was “only a phone call away” if they needed him.
Although Charles did not attend Sunday Church services regularly, he knows Who Jesus Christ is and has made Jesus his Lord and Savior.
Charles will be greatly missed by his family. He leaves behind to cherish his memory, a devoted, patient, loving and forgiving bride, Lena Mae Johnson, two daughters Jacqueline Yvonne and Charlie Mae, two sons Charles, Jr. (Rita) and Samuel (Janice), brothers and sisters, Johnny aka Jabo, Jake, Raymond (Carrie), Willie James (Arletha), Sonny, Robert aka Clyde, Willie (Tracey), Joe aka Bae Bae (Mary), Samuel (Debra), Martha aka Margie, Minnie Lee (Jessie), Chris (Ben), Flora aka Floretta, Floyd, and Mary Louise aka Ann, grandchildren, Charlena, Charles, III, Samuel, II, Jasmine and Cort, and great grandchildren, Barry, Kae’Lanique, Terrion, Samuel, III, Shareef, Charles, IV, Shane and Bryce and a host of nieces and nephews.
Charles is preceded in death by his daughter (3 days old), three sisters, Rebecca aka Stump, Eva Mae and Bay Sweet.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023 from 11:30am to 12:00pm at Colonial Memorial Funeral Home, 396 State Route 52, Woodbourne, NY 12788. A funeral service will follow immediately at the funeral home. Burial to follow at Sullivan County Veterans Cemetery, Sunset Lake Rd., Liberty, NY with full military honors.
Arrangements under the care of Colonial Memorial Funeral Home, for further information call 845-434-7363 or visit www.colonialfamilyfuneralhomes.com
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