Otis Hackett Johnson Jr., known as “Bud” or “Buddy” to his friends, 99, of Wilmington, formerly of Carteret County, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, after a short stay at Davis Health Center.
A celebration of life is at 11 a.m. Saturday at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Hampstead. Interment will follow in the memorial garden with reception following the service.
He was 99 years young and was looking forward to that 100th birthday party with friends and family. Buddy, who sustained an amazing life in his home until very recently, was able to do so with the helping hands and loving support of many friends and family. He was truly a member of “The Greatest Generation.”
Buddy was born in Chattanooga, Tenn., to parents Mary Stone Johnson and Dr. Otis Hackett Johnson. The family moved to Morehead City, where he spent his childhood. He attended Morehead City schools in his early years then graduated from Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va., in 1937. Bud spent short times at Cornell University and Wake Forest University. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, stationed in Virginia, Mississippi, Colorado, Illinois and Alaska. While stationed in Illinois, he met his wife, Kay, who was working in the clerical pool. They married in 1943 before he deployed to Elmendorf Field in Alaska.
Upon returning from World War II service, Bud reenrolled in N.C. State University in Raleigh, graduating in agronomy from the school of horticulture in 1947. He received a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of Delaware in 1951.
After living a short time in Morehead City, the family moved to Wilmington, where Bud took a position as agronomist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1956. He was involved in natural resource management and management of reservoir projects with the ACE, retiring in 1980. Since his retirement, he enjoyed volunteering with the N.C. Cooperative Extension as a Master Gardener, serving on the board of Porters Neck Quality of Life Association and a member of the board of directors and vice president of the Northeast New Hanover Conservancy. He was a member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of Hampstead since 1987 and a member of the American Legion.
Buddy is survived by daughters, Nancy Johnson and Christie Johnson Hawkins and husband Roy; very special granddaughter, Amy Hawkins and husband Alan Thiessen; special great-grandchildren, Owen, Ryan and Dylan Thiessen, all of Wilmington; nephew, Dave Baker and wife Sandra; great-nephews, Jhon Baker, wife Kara and their son Jackson, and David Baker, wife Katelin Stack, their daughter Ezri and sons Christian and John, all of Illinois; and great-niece, Rhonda Baker Hannson and husband Leif of Colorado.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Kathryn Baker Johnson; parents, Otis and Mary Johnson; sister, Natalie Johnson Bohannon; nephew, Thomas Kevin Baker of Illinois; great-nephew, Jeffrey Baker of North Carolina; and his devoted canine companion, Precious.
The family would like to send very special thanks to Buddy’s Porters Neck neighborhood friends, especially Charley and Debbie; to caregiver and friend Thomas Watkins of Home Instead Senior Care; the Meals on Wheels staff; agency Always Good Company; nursing staff, nursing aides and professional staff of Davis Health Center; and to Lower Cape Fear Life Care.
In lieu of flowers, Bud’s family asks that you consider a donation to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of Hampstead - Grounds Maintenance and Beautification, 107 Deerfield Road, Hampstead, NC 28441; Northeast New Hanover Conservancy, 1513 Futch Creek Road, Wilmington, NC 28411; or Lower Cape Fear Life Care, 1414 Physician’s Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401.
Arrangements are by Andrew’s Mortuary and Crematory of Wilmington.