1918 – 2019
Strathwell Johnson, 100, of Shiro, departed this life on Thursday evening, May 23, 2019, with his beloved wife, Henrietta, his nephew, Earl, as well as other extended family and friends at his side.
Calling hours were held from 12:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday at Lindley-Robertson-Holt Funeral Home. A gathering of family and friends took place from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 1, 2019, at Midway Baptist Church where his homecoming celebration following at 11:00 a.m. Interment immediately followed in David Chapel Cemetery in Shiro.
Serving as pallbearers were Earl DePass, Jr., Richard Harrison, Donovan Julian, David Johnson, Horace Minor and Jimmy Spivey. Names as honorary pallbearers are Earl De-Pass, Sr., Garland Smith, Carlise Ross, Allen Smith, Strathwell Johnson, Jr. and Dan Sharon.
Strathwell was born July 22, 1918 in Groesbeck to William McKinley and Alberta Enge Johnson. He was raised in the homes of his parents, step-grandmother and various aunts before moving away to California, Pennsylvania and Chicago. During his working years he worked many jobs which included a chauffeur, welder, steel mill worker and lastly, a janitor for the Chicago Board of Education.
It was in Chicago that he met the love of his life and best friend, Henrietta Mims and on August 3, 1946 they were united in holy matrimony and pledged to spend their lives together. Henrietta was the love of his life and he did not fail to show it, they did everything together.
Having accepted Christ at an early age in Dallas, while living in Chicago, Strathwell attended Congregational Church of Park Manor. Upon his retirement in 1982 and moving to Shiro, he joined Midway Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Mosely and now Pastored by Rev. Leonard Minor and he remained a dedicated member until his death.
Affectionately called S.W., this tiny 100-year-old gentleman could fin humor in almost anything, and shared his gifts with the citizens of Grimes County and beyond. “Whatever I can learn gives me an opportunity to inform the community”.
In his 100 years, he had gone from depression-era poverty and segregation to become one of Shiro’s and Grimes County’s most beloved citizens. Strathwell grew up in a time when people just helped everybody else. He was not one to sit on the sidelines of life. He became involved in the Grimes County Democratic Party and served as an election judge, as well as becoming the president of the Shiro Volunteer Fire Department and local civic club. Strathwell has been a good friend and mentor to everyone he had met over the past 100 years. He served on the Texas Silver-Hair Legislature – comprised of elected representatives of 60 plus years of age, who advocated on issues concerning older Texans. While serving on the Texas Silver-Hair Legislature, he became a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
One of the highlights of his life was attending the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009. He said, “To have come from where they would not even let me come in to eat at the restaurant at all, then live to see an African American elected to one of the highest offices in the land – that’s a great feeling”.
Another important accomplishment in his life was in the year 2000, when Tenaska Frontier Partners, Ltd created the “Strathwell Johnson Community Service Scholarship” in honor of his service to his fellow man. The recipient should be one “who displays good character and the same spirit of community service and volunteerism exemplified by the scholarship’s namesake, Strathwell Johnson”. So far, there have been 143 students with scholarships totaling $ 106,500.00 since its inception.
He leaves to mourn his passing his beloved wife, Henrietta, his son, Starthwell (Woody) Johnson, Jr.; his grandchildren, Keyerrah, Lamirra and Ahmad Johnson; a great granddaughter, My’ale Johnson; cousins, Garland Smith, Marion Bryant and Carlise Ross, his devoted nephew, Earl DePass, Jr. and wife Carrie; lifelong friends Allen Smith and Betty West along with a host of extended relatives and a great number of friends.
You are invited to sign the guestbook and leave condolences for the family at www.lindleyrobertsonholt.com.