August 25, 1889 - May 29, 1947
|Hancy McCallum Johnson was born in Edwards, Mississippi, on August 25th, 1889. He was the only child born to his parents and spent a happy boyhood In Edwards, Hazlehurst, and Jackson, Mis-sissippi. He showed even then the wonderful qualities of loyalty and devotion which remained outstanding with him all his life—for when his father died he took his mother with him wherever he went, and she was “the lady of the Parsonage” for a number of years.
H. M. Johnson was admitted on trial into the Mississippi Conference at Hazlehurst, Mississippi, December 14, 1912, Bishop H. C. Morrison presiding; was admitted into full connection at Columbia, Mississippi; and was ordained elder at Vicksburg, Mississippi, December 9, 1917, by Bishop Warren A. Candler.
He served the following appointments: Camden, 1913; Americus, 1914; Roxie, 1915; Jackson, Millsaps Memorial, 1916-18; Released to enter the army in 1918, where he went through Officers Training School, graduated from this school with commission as Second Lieutenant, and was assigned to the S. A. T. C. at University of Alabama just prior to Armistice day; he returned to the Conference and was assigned to Jackson, Millsaps Memorial, and Ray-mond for 1919, during the spring of which year he graduated from Millsaps College, received his B. A. degree and was the College representative at the Mississippi Inter-collegiate Oratorial Contest.
Then on Christmas Day, 1920, he Was united in marriage to Miss Fannie Bea Fondren who is surviving him to this day. He served: Eden, 1920; Bolton and Raymond, 1921-24, where he led in the erection of the beautiful brick church and parsonage; Newton, 1925 and 26; transferred to the Louisiana Conference in the fall of 1926.
As a member of the Louisiana Conference he served the following appointments: Haynesville, 1926-29; Trinity Church, Ruston, 1929-81; Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial, Bogalusa, 1981-35; Arcadia, 1985-38; Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans, 1938-41. District Super-intendent of the Monroe District, 1941 to the day of his death, May 29th, 1947.
H. M. Johnson found his deepest joy and his greatest satis-faction in his home life. He admired and adored his wife, and those of us who had the privilege to visit his home will always re-member the gentle teasing which be directed at her and behind which one could feel all the warmth of a deep love. And then that beautiful wistful smile which would come over his features as he watched her coming by or listened to her leading the conversation was something to behold. He was very proud of and devoted to his children: Edward, born in 1921; Dorothy, born in 192~ and Frances, born in 1932. Therefore the blow registered upon him heavily when Dorothy, a beautiful and lovely young lady, was stricken shortly after her graduation day by a lingering illness from which there was no recovery. For many months H. M. Johnson watched by her bedside until her passing during the Christmas sea-son, 1943. Within a year Brother Johnson had the first severe warning of the heart disease, which was ultimately to take him. The attending physicians agreed that the great grief and sorrow occasioned by the illness and death of his daughter were the chief factors in his sickness. Deeply hurt in the heart, it was this heart that was giving way. After a few months he resumed his work on the District. But soon another tragedy was to reach him on the same sensitive spot. Edward, his son, was in the air forces in England; and at Easter time, 1945, the fateful telegram reached the District Par-sonage that once more another dreadful sacrifice had been made for God and country. Those of us who were close to him were able to tell the strain, which this new hurt, put on his ailing heart. But without bitterness and complaint, he continued to travel the district.
The strength of H. W. Johnson’s ministry was the nobility of his character and the purity of his motives. Truly he was a man without guile. There were no devious ways or artful designs about him. His actions were always as clear as crystal. He was also blessed by a sense of humor, which was disarming, and this served him well in some of the difficult situations, which are inherent to the office he occupied. He always did his best for the men who were committed to his care. Quite often it was our privilege to watch him as he protected and shielded them. We never heard him speak an unkind word about his brethren, and he went to great pains never to mention any unhappy occurrence or unfortunate mistake which might have been detrimental to one’s effectiveness. He never sought honors, or special recognition. His sincerity, his integrity and his faithfulness were his glory and his reward.
Shortly after the Conference in Alexandria, he was stricken again. On numerous occasions he tried to rise from his bed and made valiant efforts to carry on his work from his sick room. Quite often we heard him say that he did not want to sit around and do nothing, and that if he could not work any more he would prefer to go. It seems as if he had selected the District Conference as the testing hour at which time God would show him unmistakably what was His will for him. In spite of the misgivings of his family, doctors and friends, he was determined to preside over his District Conference. With much care he prepared the program of the day and drove to Mer Rouge, feeling wonderful—eager and happy to carry on once more. So, on May 29th, in the Methodist Church in Mer Rouge, H. M. Johnson, in his sixth year as District Superin-tendent of the Monroe District, called to order his District Conference. There was a brief devotional—the words of welcome of Mer Rouge Methodism to the Conference (to which he made a gracious response). Then a little child was brought to him for baptism. He conducted this beautiful service, reading from the ritual, took the little child in his arms and baptized him in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. After returning the child to the arms of his mother, he began the reading of the Lord’s Prayer. When he came to the middle of it, his words faltered, but he slowly finished it. The immortal words which our Blessed Lord put on the lips of his disciples were Brother Johnson’s last words. For at the conclusion of the prayer he sat down—and right there in the church, which he loved, in the pulpit to which he had consecrated his life, very quickly, without any effort or any struggle, his soul went to the life of perfect service in the Heavenly Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The funeral was held the following day at the First Methodist ‘Church in Monroe with Bishop Paul E. Martin officiating. Then, with Mrs. Johnson and Frances we went on to Jackson and tenderly laid his mortal remains next to the tomb of lovely Dorothy and the memorial marker dedicated to Edward.
. . . . “for thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever and ever—Amen.”—how fitting that this should have been the last words of a good man in such a noble departure. He leaves them to us as his testimony and his benediction.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 105-108, 1947 by A. M. Serex.|