Elijah Bernard Johnson was born on August 12, 1941, in Scott, Arkansas to Lula Mae (Johnson) Fletcher. He was raised by his grandparents, Silas and Minnie Johnson, as the youngest of 12 children. Silas and Minnie were Elijah’s “Papa” and “Big Momma,” they were his parents. He loved his large extended family, being especially close to big brother Curtis, cousin Mildred, and cousin Tom (deceased).
After high school, Elijah moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University. During a visit back to Little Rock, he met the love of his life, Jearldine Taylor. They began dating and he affectionately called her “Jewel”; she affectionately called him “Johnson”. Johnson and Jewel were married on October 11, 1963. From their marriage union, they raised four children: Michael, De Anna, Kelvin, and Clarence.
Johnson enlisted in the Air Force. During his military tenure, he received numerous meritorious awards including the Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with 1 Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, and Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters. He and his family had the privilege of moving around the U.S., as well as living in Italy. Johnson and his family moved to Abilene in 1979; where he retired, making Abilene his home. After his retirement at the rank of Master Sergeant, he began a new career as a civil servant, doing the same job he did while active duty Air Force. After twenty-one years as a civil servant, he retired; enjoying spending time fishing, volunteering with the Abilene Evening Lions Club, and taking care of his Jewel.
Johnson was preceded in death by his parents, Silas and Minnie Johnson, Lula Mae Fletcher; brothers: Naaman, Ernest, Willie, Silas Jr.; sisters: Berniece, Naomi, Zettie, Priscilla, Callie, Pamela.
Johnson leaves to cherish his memories his wife of 56 years, Jewel; one brother, Curtis; two sisters, Herticene; Carolyn (Leo); four children and nine grandchildren: Michael & Sara (Evelyn, Nelly, Michelle, Mikalya, Michael Jr.); De Anna & Elijah (Elijah Jr.); Kelvin & Elisha (Jazzmin, Kameron, Eboni); Clarence & Brianne; six great-children; a host of brothers-in-law; sisters-in-law; nieces; nephews; cousins; and many loving friends.