John Thomas Johnson, 87, custodian, veteran


John Thomas Johnson, a retired Howard County custodian and World War II veteran, died of a heart attack Dec. 5 at Howard County General Hospital. He was 87 and had lived in Jessup for 10 years.

Known as Tom, Mr. Johnson was born in Highland, Howard County. He served in the Army from December 1943 through February 1946, as a private first class and rifle expert.

His decorations included the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater ribbon, which he earned fighting to liberate France from Nazi control.

Mr. Johnson didn't talk much about the war, said his daughter, Deborah Gunn of Catonsville. "Just bits and pieces: It was pretty scary -- death all around. He was right at the front."

Mr. Johnson worked as a custodian for the Howard County schools, retiring in 1982 after 20 years at Clarksville Middle School.

A tenor, Mr. Johnson enjoyed singing and was a member of three choirs at his church.

Mr. Johnson was divorced in 1980 from Mildred Davis.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at Hopkins United Methodist Church, 13250 Highland Road, Highland.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a brother, Earl Johnson of Baltimore; longtime companion Bessie Griffin of Killeen, Texas; two grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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