Thomas Charles ‘Tom’ Johnsson Sr., 90, of Wilmington, passed away at New Hanover Regional Medical Center on Thursday, March 24, 2016. He was born October 20, 1925, in Chicago, Ill., to the late Carl and Florence Johnsson.
Tom served our country in the U.S. Navy during World War II from 1942 to 1946.
After serving in the Panama Canal Zone, Tom started a successful career as a clothing manufacturer sales representative, covering a sales territory that covered Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. After a short stint as national sales manager, Tom took over a sales territory covering Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Moving to Greensboro in the early 1950s, Tom met and married his wife, Pat. They were married for 52 years, living in Greensboro, Charlotte and Cary, until Pat passed away in 2005. The following year, Tom moved to Wilmington to be near friends who lived there.
Tom will be remembered as the sociable, outgoing and generous gentleman with his ever-present Greek fisherman’s hat. While working in Greensboro and Charlotte, he was known to many customers and fellow sales reps as the ‘super salesman,’ who seemed to know everybody and considered everyone his friend. Many customers considered Tom not just a sales rep, but a trusted confidant who helped them grow their small-town dress shops over a 30-year period.
While retired in Cary, he could be found outside his favorite coffee shop. Often, he would be holding court with his fellow coffee cronies, meeting everyone who passed by.
Throughout his life, Tom was known for his exceptional generosity and concern for all friends and family. Many times he stepped in with financial support when someone was struggling or getting started out in life. During the Great Depression, Tom raised his brothers and sister, working three jobs while attending high school.
Tom was also known for his extraordinary gift for storytelling, a talent he picked up during 30 years as a traveling salesman. In his later years, he could be found on Tuesday nights at his favorite restaurant in Wilmington, telling numerous entertaining stories and listening to close friends’ stories as well.
Tom was dearly loved by his family and will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Pat; sister Rosemary; and brothers Don and Arthur.
He is survived by his son, Tommy Johnsson Jr.; daughter, Patty Johnsson; granddaughters, Kristal Jarman and Sarah Johnsson; nieces, Rozanna Carosella, Marge Johnsson, Mary Therese Johnsson and Beth Besson; and nephews, Charles Shields and Don Johnsson.
A celebration of life ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 5, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 6650 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington, NC 28412.
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