WILMINGTON — Otis Hackett Johnson Jr., 99, known as “Bud,” or “Buddy” to his friends, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, after a short stay at Davis Health Center. At 99 years young, he was looking forward to his 100th birthday party with friends and family.
Buddy, who sustained an amazing life at 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, Tennessee, 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 and graduated from Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, Virginia, in 1937. Bud spent short times at Cornell University and Wake Forest University. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was 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 re-enrolled in North Carolina State University in Raleigh, graduating in Agronomy from the School of Horticulture in 1947. He received an M.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 corps, retiring in 1980. Since his retirement, he enjoyed volunteering with the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service as a master gardener, serving on the board of Porters Neck Quality of Life Association and as a member of the board of directors and vice president of the Northeast New Hanover Conservancy. He was a member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of Hampstead since 1987 and a member of the American Legion.
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; grand-nephew, Jeffrey Baker of North Carolina; and devoted canine companion, Precious.
Buddy is survived by his daughters, Nancy Johnson and Christie Johnson Hawkins (Roy); very special granddaughter, Amy Hawkins (Alan Thiessen); special great-grandchildren, Owen, Ryan and Dylan Thiessen of Wilmington; nephew, Dave Baker (Sandra); great-nephews, Jhon Baker (Kara), and son, Jackson, David Baker, (Katelin Stack), and daughter, Ezri, and sons, Christian and John of Illinois; and great-niece Rhonda Baker Hannson (Leif) of Colorado.
The family would like to send very special thanks to Buddy’s Porters Neck neighborhood friends, especially Charley and Debbie; caregiver and friend, Thomas Watkins of Home Instead Senior Care; the Meals on Wheels staff; Always Good Company; and the nursing staff, nursing aides and professional staff of Davis Health Center and Lower Cape Fear Life Care.
A celebration of life will take place at 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of Hampstead, 107 Deerfield Road, Hampstead. Interment will follow in the Memorial Garden with a reception following the service.
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 LifeCare, 1414 Physician’s Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401.
Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.