James Booker Thomas Johnson Sr. affectionately known as “Booker T” to family and friends passed away peacefully on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, in the Hospice House of Williamsburg. He was born on April 11, 1924, one of five children born to the late Samuel and Gladys Johnson in Toano, Virginia.
Booker T accepted Jesus Christ at an early age and was baptized in the Cranston Mill Pond. He was a lifelong member of Chickahominy Baptist Church where he worshipped faithfully until his health began to decline. During his tenure with the church, he enjoyed attending Sunday service, helping transport the youth to different events, and often catered various functions at the church.
Booker T attended the Chickahominy School and completed the eighth grade. At the age of fifteen, he enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corp for eighteen months where he learned to trim hair. He was later employed at the Colonial Williamsburg Laundry; later moving on to work at Camp Peary, where he was hired as kitchen help. Two weeks into the job he was promoted to a position as a Chef. During his thirty-four years of service, he excelled to be Assistant Manager of the Mess Hall and Chief Chef of the VIPs of Washington D.C. Among those he served were President Ronald Reagan, President George Bush, Congressman Bobby Scott, and Governor Mark Warner. He retired in 1989 but was often asked to return to cater special events.
On July 22, 1942, he married his lifelong partner the former Rosa Bell “Boobie” Christian. Unto this union they were blessed with many years of happiness and one loving son, Booker T. “Junie” Johnson, Jr. While they had only one biological child, they raised several other children over the years to include their granddaughter, Valarie “Treasie” Johnson, and great-granddaughter, Angel Washington.
He was a simple man who worked hard and consistently spread love to others. He enjoyed cooking for people and telling stories of the past. He was known for his kindness, wisdom, cooking (especially the art of deboning a turkey), and for having nice cars.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Rosa; son, Booker T, Jr.; daughter-in-law, Geraldine; granddaughter, Valarie and Benita; two brothers, Sam Jr and Cleveland; sister, Inez; and many other special relatives.
He leaves to cherish his precious memories, his sister, Hester Mae Lee of Brooklyn, NY; great-granddaughter whom he raised as his own, Angel Washington (Perry); three great-great-granddaughters with whom he lived, Ariana, Gabrielle, and Nyla; grandson, James Johnson; a great-granddaughter, Tamecia Tyler; a special nephew whom he looked forward to visiting with on Sundays, Emanuel Randall (Anna); and a host of other relatives and many caring friends.
A funeral service, celebrating the life he lived, will be held at 12 noon on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at Chickahominy Baptist Church with the Apostle Corwin R. Hammond Sr. officiating. Interment will follow in Williamsburg Memorial Park. Family and friends will assemble at the church by 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday. Mr. Johnson may be viewed on Tuesday beginning at 10:00 a.m. until the hour of his service.
Professional services entrusted to the staff of Whiting’s Funeral Home, 7005 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185. 757-229-3011 whitingsfuneralhome.com
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