Walter Johnson Obituary (1940-2021) – Greensboro, NC

Johnson Jr., Walter T.

May 18, 1940 – July 24, 2021

Walter Thaniel Johnson, Jr., 81, of Greensboro, NC, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 24, 2021. He was the second child of Walter T. Johnson, Sr. and Gertrude Alexander Johnson. Walter was born and raised in Greensboro, NC, where he graduated from James B. Dudley High School in 1957. He graduated from NC A&T College with a degree in engineering physics in 1961. He joined the US Air Force but was postponed to make history by enrolling in the Duke University School of Law as the first African American student in the fall of 1961. After studying law, Walter began his service as a captain in the USJAG Corps at Stewart Air Force Base in Newburgh, NY. On March 20, 1965, Walter married the love of his life, Yvonne Jeffries. Four children emerged from this union. After completing his military service, Walter moved back to his hometown Greensboro, where he began his legal career as a lawyer. He then went into private practice until 1980 when Governor Jim Hunt became the first African American to appoint him chairman of the NC Parole Commission. During his legal career, Walter taught as an associate professor at both Duke and NC Central Law School. Walter later opened his own law firm until he retired in 2004.

Walter was a member of several committees and organizations. He was a proud member of Omega Psi Phi, the Greensboro Sports Council, the Greensboro Men’s Club, the Black Lawyers Assoc., The UNCG Board of Trustees, and a variety of other bodies and organizations for over 60 years.

Walter was a pioneer and trailblazer. In the late 1960s, he was the first African-American chairman of the Greensboro Public School’s school committee. In addition, his construction company was responsible for building affordable housing in northeast Greensboro.

Walter was a lifelong member of the Providence Baptist Church, where he served several terms on the Board of Trustees and as an attorney for the Church.

Walter had a zest for life and felt great joy in his family, friends and various sporting activities. He particularly enjoyed his workouts at the Hayes Taylor YMCA. Walter had a large collection of loyal friends and companions who enriched his life. He was an avid reader and a huge supporter of NCA&T athletics.

Walter leaves behind his 56-year-old, loving wife, Yvonne J. Johnson, whom he “loved more than the tongue could tell”. He was also pleased and proud of his children Walter Johnson III (Samara), Vernon Johnson (Tina), lawyer Lisa Johnson-Tonkins (JT) and Shannon Johnson-Lackey (Tarji); his admiration for his children was only surpassed by that of his eight grandchildren, one great-grandson, his sister Patricia Trice; Sister-in-law Jacqueline Kpeglo; Brother-in-law Dr. Maurice Kpeglo.

Perry J. Brown Funeral Home

909 E. Market St., Greensboro NC 27401

Published by Greensboro News & Record on July 30, 2021.

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