William Garrett Johnson
William Garrett Johnson
  • September 16, 1927 - December 4, 2017
  • Houston, Texas

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William Garrett "Bill" Johnson, 90, a beloved husband, father, grandfather and uncle, went home to the loving arms of his Lord and Savior after a brief illness December 4, 2017.

Bill was born on the family Cherokee allotment just outside Dewey, Oklahoma on September 16, 1927 to William Paul Harvey Johnson and Ethel Atwater Johnson. He enjoyed working with his father on their cattle interests and at one time lived on the Yellowjacket Ranch in Northeastern Oklahoma. He served a stint in the Merchant Marines at the end of World War II, between his junior and senior year, then graduated from Dewey High School in May 1946 to join the U.S. Army, where he served in the Philippines from 1946-47. He returned to the U.S. to enroll in Cameron College in 1947, followed by Oklahoma A&M College, now Oklahoma State University. He joined the Army again in 1951 and graduated from Army Flight School in 1953 to be assigned to serve in the U.S. Army's 45th and 24th Divisions in Korea. He was awarded the Bronze Star while serving in the 82nd Airborne, receiving an honorable discharge as a 1st Lieutenant in 1954.

He returned to Oklahoma A&M College, where he was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho, and graduated in May 1955 with a degree in Animal Husbandry. He worked as an assistant county agent in Graham, Texas in 1956. In the spring of 1958, while working for Estes Chemical in Lubbock, Texas, he met the love of his life, Joan Shirley Chesher. Six months later, they married in Lubbock, on November 1, 1958. He completed advanced studies at both Texas A&M University and Syracuse University, embracing his career as a lifelong agribusiness professional and consultant, with his last position as a consultant to Bud Adams Ranches at the age of 85.

Joan and Bill retired to the family Cherokee allotment where they managed a small herd of commercial cattle prior to moving to Houston in 2007. Bill served a four-year term from 2003-07 as a District 8 Councilor for the Cherokee Nation and was an active member of the Trail of Tears Association. He was a member of the First Families of the Cherokee Nation, First Families of Tennessee and First Families of Texas, as well as the Cherokee National Historical Society. Bill was a lifelong member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. His community involvement included serving on the Bartlesville (Okla.) Area History Museum Board, Arvest Bank Community Advisory Board, the Tallgrass RC&D Council Representative, the Washington County (Okla.) Adult Center Board, the Washington County Agriculture Council, the Phillips Petroleum Citizen Advisory Council and the Bluestem Farm and Ranch Club Board.

In Houston, they were members of Second Baptist Houston and Champions Forest Baptist Church.

Bill is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Joan; daughter Jana Johnson Gunter and her husband, Terry, and their sons, Garrett William Gunter and Grant Johnson Gunter of Houston; daughter Julie Johnson Bryant and her husband, Steve, and their children, Savannah Kimball, Katheryn Bryant and Daniel Bryant of Aledo, Texas; a son, Paul Johnson of Austin; a sister, Marjorie Johnson Lowe of Houston; and a brother, James "Jim" Johnson and his wife, Anne, of Loveland Ohio; as well as many beloved nieces and nephews. Honorary pallbearers include Dean Clark, Eldon Dudley, Bryan Lynch, Brad Lynch, David Lynch, Cody Hurdt, Johnny Villareal and Randy Scofield.

Donations can be made to the Bartlesville Area History Museum
401 S Johnstone Ave
Bartlesville, OK 74003
United States