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August 11, 1932 - June 12, 2018
Joe Eddie Johnson of Tyler, TX passed away on June 12, 2018. Joe was born in Panhandle, Texas to Ivry and Thelma Johnson on August 11, 1932. His father was an employee of the Gulf Oil Company in Borger, Texas. An only child, Joe had many fond memories of growing up in the Texas panhandle. His fondest memories of his youth were of the many nights he spent camping in the surrounding canyons under the bright Texas stars.
At the age of 17, Joe departed home for Texas Tech University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Highlights from his college years center on his time marching for the Red Raider Band. Chief among these highlights was the day he met his future bride, Barbara, in 1952, while performing in the Cotton Bowl stadium. His French horn and her saxophone would march together for the next sixty-five years. Their life together was filled with children, travels, loss, love, friends and family.
Joe’s passion was his business. He worked for several years for the aerospace engineering firm Chance Vaught (later renamed LTV). His employment with Chance Vaught gave the family the opportunity to live in several communities in Texas, a six-year stretch in Detroit, MI and lastly, in 1969, the place he would call home for the rest of his life, Tyler, Texas. Joe truly enjoyed the engineering challenges he was charged with while employed by Chance Vaught, however, he had a deep desire to become an entrepreneur. He and his family loved the city of Tyler and the possibility of transferring to another city mixed with his entrepreneurial aspiration provided him the impetus needed to leave his career with Chance Vaught behind and purchase the small millwork firm of Howard McKinney, Inc. in Tyler. The risks were great; as a sole provider with six young children, Joe worked tirelessly to succeed. The small company grew from a handful of employees focused on small residential jobs into a company employing over fifty people. Howard McKinney expanded the scope of projects from custom residential to large-scale commercial work. Notable projects spanned several states and included but were not limited to: Parkland Hospital-Dallas, The Ballpark Stadium - Arlington, the Adolphus Hotel - Dallas, the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas A&M Stadium, ETMC & Mother Francis Hospital expansions, Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart – Houston.
Another of Joe’s passions was music. Whether he was singing in the church choir at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception or with a barbershop chorus or quartet, Joe was happiest with four-part harmonies ringing in his ears. He was a member of East Texas Men in Harmony for nearly 40 years. He was a proud member of the world famous Vocal Majority for 9 years and was the recipient of two international gold medals for barbershop performance. Joe also enjoyed his time through the years being part of two quartets, Yesterday’s Mail and Class Reunion. The friends he made through music were forever in his heart.
Joe’s retirement was spent happily piddling away in his yard and garden, traveling, spending time with family and providing words of wisdom to his many children, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren.
Joe is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughters, Theresa Honeycutt (Rob Milke) of Houston, TX, Becky Braly (Kevin) of Tyler, and Jeannie Conneen (Rich) of Tyler; sons, Mike Johnson (Patty) of Whitehouse, TX; Mark Johnson (George-Anna) of Dallas, TX; and Chris Johnson (Barbara) of Tyler; 20 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Ivry and Thelma Johnson; granddaughters, Katy and Haley Johnson and great-grandson, Archer Irwin.
A funeral mass will be held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, TX on Monday, June 18, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. A rosary service followed by visitation will be held at Stewart Family Funeral Home, 7525 Old Jacksonville Hwy, Tyler, TX 75703 on Sunday, June 17th, 2018 from 4:00-6:30 p.m. If desired, memorial donations can be made in memory of Joe E. Johnson (note in memo line of check) to: Truman W. Smith Children’s Care Center (2200 West Upshur Ave., Gladewater, TX 75644) or East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind (411 W. Front Street, Tyler, TX 75702).
Stewart Family Funeral Home - Tyler
7525 Old Jacksonville Hwy.