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Curtis D. Johnson Sr.

December 8, 2020
Curtis D.  Johnson Sr.
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Obituary for Curtis D. Johnson Sr.

U.S. Army Major (Ret.) Curtis Douglas Johnson Sr. of Memphis Tennessee; with over 21 years of service, was a seasoned military combat veteran, a devoted loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother. Johnson passed away peacefully at his home on December 8, 2020 from complications as a result of Multiple Myeloma from exposure to Agent Orange.
Born in Harlan, Kentucky on March 11, 1941 to William Thomas and Leatha Mae Johnson, Curtis grew up in Middlesboro, Kentucky and was a proud graduate of Lincoln High School, class of 1958 in the city of Middlesboro, Kentucky.
Major Curtis Johnson’s military career began after high school on September 12, 1958 in basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. After serving in Korea, Curtis was honorably discharged he then attended St. Augustine College in Raleigh, North Carolina for two years before deciding to re-enlist in the Army to serve his Country. Curtis met and married Daphine Baptiste in El Paso, Tx after his reenlistment. After years of committed enlisted service, Curtis, entered and completed Officer’s Candidate School at Fort Benning 97th Company in 1968, and accepted a commission as Second Lt. Curtis held the distinction of being an officer during the Vietnam War. During the war, he was promoted to First Lieutenant and commanded the 2nd Platoon Delta Company, 1/20th, 11 Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. He served in Vietnam for two years, 1969 and 1970. With his commitment to excel, Curtis was awarded (2) Bronze Stars. The Bronze Star Medal is a United States decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone. Johnson rose to the rank of Major after the war, and Major Johnson would continue to serve honorably in the military until discharged from active duty in 1973. Major Johnson completed his military service in reserve status.
After the Vietnam war, Major Curtis D. Johnson Sr., completed his undergraduate degree at Cameron University. There in 1974, he joined Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., through the Zeta Omega Chapter at the University of Oklahoma. Additionally, he would later attend the University of Dallas, through its MBA program. In 1975, he relocated his family to Memphis, Tennessee and he continued his interest in public service. Johnson was a council member with the National Pan Hellenic council; a member of the Prince Hall Mason’s Lodge St. Luke #241; a fund raiser with the Pro Duffers Golf Tournament benefiting Sickle Cell Anemia and he was a member of the Elvis Presley Post 249 Bartlett, Tennessee the American Legion. Despite his many travels, Curtis never forgot where he was raised, Middlesboro. Curtis was a co-founder and past President of Lincoln High School Alumni Reunion which currently award scholarships to high school students graduating Middlesboro High School in Middlesboro, Kentucky. He was awarded the distinguished title of Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of State of Kentucky in 1999 for his service to the community of Middlesboro, Kentucky. Curtis worked as an operations manager for Boise Cascade and Diesel Recon and later retired from United States Postal Service in 2003.
Local and national dignitaries frequently recognized Johnson for his civic minded service. On August 15, 2015 Curtis D. Johnson, Sr., received a Proclamation from the City Council for his distinguished community service. On September 27, 2015, U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen presented on the American flag flown over the Congressional building in tribute to Curtis D. Johnson Sr.’s military service.
Curtis was baptized at an early age at Thankful Baptist Church on 321 N. 19th Street Middlesboro, Kentucky. He would join Bethlehem Missionary Church in Memphis, Tennessee.
Retired Major Johnson was a brave and loyal soldier as well as a loving husband and father. He was preceded in death by his parents, and one brother, Michael Thomas.
He is survived by his wife Daphine L. Johnson of 55 years, two daughters Mrs. Tamara (Bob) Burdon, Sr. Clinical Consultant, Attorney Florence M. Johnson, two sons Attorney Curtis D. Johnson Jr. and Reverend Corey D. Johnson. His sisters, Loretta A. Moore, Dr. Kaye MacDonald, Phyllis Gadson and Annette Reed, and nine (9) grandchildren (Curtis D. Johnson, III, Ashera Johnson, Christian Johnson, Benjamin Burdon, Emma Burdon, Caleb D. Johnson, Robert Johnson, Cyrah Johnson and Carrington Johnson), nieces (Soroya Thomas, Dionne Baptiste, Gabriella Cotton), nephews (Reginald Moore, Randal Moore, Garrett Moore, Michael Thomas, Brandon Thomas, Joshua Reed, James Reed, Willis Peavy and Jeffrey McDonald) and a host of other relatives who will miss his presence, infectious smile and generosity of spirit.

Serenity Funeral Home, Tel. (901)379-0861

Previous Events

Visitation

Tuesday

15

Dec

1:00 PM 12/15/2020 1:00:00 PM - 2:00 PM 12/15/2020 2:00:00 PM
Serenity Funeral Home

1638 Sycamore View Road
Memphis, TN 38134

Serenity Funeral Home
1638 Sycamore View Road Memphis 38134 TN
United States

Service

Tuesday

15

Dec

2:00 PM 12/15/2020 2:00:00 PM
Serenity Funeral Home

1638 Sycamore View Road
Memphis, TN 38134

Serenity Funeral Home
1638 Sycamore View Road Memphis 38134 TN
United States

Committal Service

Monday

11

Jan

10:15 AM 1/11/2021 10:15:00 AM
West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery

4000 Forest Hill Irene Road
Memphis, TN 38125

West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery
4000 Forest Hill Irene Road Memphis 38125 TN
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery Final Resting Place

4000 Forest Hill Irene Road
Memphis, TN 38125

4000 Forest Hill Irene Road Memphis 38125 TN
United States
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