Dr. Lester B. Johnson, Jr., 91, passed away on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at Candler/St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was a second generation Savannahian, the son of Lester B. Johnson, Sr. and Lucille Baldwin Spencer Johnson. A product of local public schools, he was a graduate from Alfred E. Beach High School where he was President of his Class in 1944. He earned a B.S. degree in Architectural Engineering from Hampton University in 1949. His tenure at Hampton was interrupted by a sixteen-month tour of duty in the United States Army. He received the Master’s of Education Degree in industrial education from South Carolina State University in 1966. Dr. Johnson earned his Ph.D. in vocational education from the University of Missouri Columbia in 1973. His teaching career of 43 years includes a 20-year tenure at Alfred E. Beach High School as an industrial arts and mathematics teacher. He also served as the school’s photographer, yearbook advisor, varsity club advisor, and athletic statistician. Dr. Johnson was named Beach High School Teacher of the Year in 1961. In 1969 Johnson began teaching at Savannah State University. He was appointed chairman of the Department of Engineering Technology in 1973 and served as acting Chairman of the Division of Technical Sciences in 1976 and 1978. Under his leadership, the three engineering technology programs were accredited in 1972, and continued to maintain their accreditation status. He retired as professor and chairman emeritus of engineering technology in 1992. Dr. Johnson designed the first two commemorative license plates and the centennial flag for Savannah State. In 1991 Johnson was selected for the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Membership in professional organizations includes the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Institute for the Certification of Engineering Technologies. Dr. Johnson was past secretary, vice president and president of the Board of Trustees for the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2008, he was named Trustee Emeritus. He served on the Historic Review Board for the City of Savannah and the Board of Equalization. Dr. Johnson was the first African American youth to attain the rank of Eagle Scout in Savannah. For his dedication to scouting, he was given the Whitney M. Young Lifetime Service Award. Dr. Johnson worked at the Savannah Morning News for twenty-one years where he was supervisor in the circulation department. Johnson is a life member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He is a past Basileus, Keeper of Records and Seal, and Parliamentarian of Mu Phi Chapter. He was a charter member of the Board of Directors for the Omega Life Membership Foundation and a former state representative for Georgia. Dr. Johnson was a charter and life member of the Ralph M. Gilbert Civil Rights Museum. His additional memberships and associations included the following organizations: King-Tisdale Foundation, Coastal Jazz Association, Savannah Quarterback Club, LCRS Community Association, Lifetime Member of the NAACP, Georgia Historical Society, National Hampton Alumni Association, and the Wolves Club. He was a member of St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church where he was past president of the Holy Name Society and a part of the Eucharistic ministry. He was a charter member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 10274 and a 4th Degree Knight. He is survived by his loving wife of sixty-six years, Constance Mosley Johnson; five children and five children of love from unions of marriage; Joyce and Clifford Hardwick, Lester III and Salyon Johnson, Lynt and Gloria Johnson, Lisa and Kyle Webb, Leslie and Morris Johnson. From these five loving unions, there are twenty grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. His siblings of love include Herman and Adelaide Mosley, Gloria and Theodore Lewis, Annette Mosley Patrick and Robert Patrick. His cousins Clarence and Ann Davis, Michael and Barbara Daves and a host of nephews and nieces, also survive him.
It has been said that a man’s legacy is the success of his children. An educator’s legacy would then be the success of his students. His children and former students include university presidents, judges, politicians, contractors, architects, educators, coaches, military officers, ministers, physicians, lawyers, engineers, actors, entrepreneurs, and many other accomplished citizens.
Adams Funeral Home is in charge of services. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hampton University. Attn: Lester B. Johnson Jr. Generations Endowed Scholarship, Office of Development, Hampton University, Hampton, VA 23668 or St. Benedict the Moor Old School Restoration Fund. In Memory of Dr. Lester B. Johnson, Jr., 556 E. Gordon St, Savannah GA. 31401.