Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 10, 2014

Cherokee County woman dies just before her 106th birthday

April Barbe
Jacksonville Daily Progress

CHEROKEE COUNTY — Services are being held today for Josie Johnson, who spent 105 years in Cherokee County, according to her niece and Goddaughter, Regena Simmons.

Simmons, of Rusk, said Josie was born in Cherokee County on June 16, 1908. She would have been 106 next month. She lived in the Elm Grove community, and she was “quiet, humble and very religious,” Simmons said.

In 1908, Henry Ford's company built the first Model T car, the now-classic song, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” hit the charts and Jack Johnson became the first black heavyweight boxing champion.

Josie lived through 19 U.S. presidents, beginning with Theodore Roosevelt.

Josie also lived through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Civil Rights Movement and countless other wars/conflicts.

Married for 67 years, her husband Amsden Johnson preceded her in death. The couple did not have any children.

Simmons said she jokingly told her godmother that not having any children was her secret to a long life.

“She'd laugh, and say maybe I was right!”

Simmons took care of Josie in her later years, and said she will miss her.

“She would help anybody in the community. She had a beautiful yard, and she loved flowers. She had a sweet spirit,” Simmons said.

Josie retired from the Darby Plant Farm many years ago, Simmons said.

She is survived by Simmons, her husband, Zen, and two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren (through Simmons).

Funeral services begin at 11 a.m. today at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church with the Rev. James Fuller officiating. Burial will be in Henry Cemetery.