Furman William Johnson, 89, went to be with his Lord and Savior, Nov. 26, 2009, at Christian Health Care of Nevada, Mo.
He was the first born of fourteen children to Leslie Furman and Helen Pricillia Popanz Johnson in Spencer, July 27, 1920.
He attended school in Spencer. He was a WWII Veteran entering the Army Air Force on Nov. 10, 1942, at Camp Dodge, Iowa. Sgt. Johnson was at Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1943 and was assigned to be the driver of Joe Louis, the World Heavyweight Champion, who was also in uniform. Johnson served over three years in the 11th Air Force, mostly on the Aleutian Islands, and Nak Nak, Alaska. He was injured while bombing northern Japan, losing one eye and was discharged Nov. 23, 1945, at Greensboro, N.C.
November 1948, he was off to Pittsburg, Calif., and worked for the Corps of Engineers for five years. After that, he joined the union and worked as a carpenter. Johnson attended and graduated from Healds Business College in San Francisco. He was a contractor and headed the building of the John Deere Plant in Iola, Kansas.
He married Dorothy Meadows in 1951 in Reno, Nevada. A son, Curtis Allen, was born in 1952. On Sept. 17, 1960, he and Bonnie Corene Earnest Reaves were married in Las Vegas, Nevada.
At age 54, "Johnny" bought a race car and named it "One Eyed Johnny."
During his first year of racing he was named "Rookie of the Year" at the Stockton, Calif. racetrack. He then quit racing saying it was too expensive.
In 1968 Furman and Corene moved to Iola, Kansas, where he did construction work building several houses. Later they bought a farm outside Iola and became farmers of 500 acres, retiring 16 years later. In 1984 they moved to Stockton, Mo., where Corene had roots planted years ago. They lived in Stockton 23 years and recently celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. Furman was a member of the Stockton Missionary Baptist Church.
He is survived by his wife, Corene; a son, Curtis Allen (Cheryl) Johnson of Morgan Hills, Calif.; three stepdaughters: Ramona Ramsey of Pangburn, Ark., Wanda Ramsey of Nevada, Mo,, and Clara "Rae" Beck of Springfield, Tenn.; three brothers: Robert of Spencer, Gary of Denver, Colo., and Jim (Debbie) Johnson of Brady, Texas; seven sisters: June Goettsche of Spencer, Charlotte "Shy" Pearson of Hartley, Lucille Siino of Pittsburg, Calif., Audrey (Horace) Costanza of Pittsburg, Calif., Mary Helen (John) Nuovo of Hemet, Calif., Phyllis Bates, and Marilyn (Richard) Zellaha of Spencer; sister-in-law Beverly Johnson; five grandsons: Matthew, Benjiman, Daniel and Zachary Johnson -- all of Morgan Hill, Calif.; two granddaughters: Elizabeth and Rebecca Johnson; two great-grandsons: Dylan and Joseph Johnson; nine stepgrandchildren: Michael Brundridge, Mo., Sheila Goree of Pangburn, Ariz., Terry Griggs
of Maryville, Penn., Alana Gayman of Nevada, Mo., Jeri Ann Ramsey of Verico Springs, Mo., Tamra Bargar, N.C., Renee Crowell of Springfield, Tenn., Rodney Fritter, Ark., and Debbi Moore of Sherman, Texas; 17 stepgreat-grandchildren; and 17 stepgreat-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Marvin; one sister, Shirley M. Costa; one infant sister; and stepdaughter, Jerri Ann Randel.
Two very special friends who gave their time and love, Darrell and Michelle Pummel of Stockton, Mo.