GREENVILLE — On Feb. 19, 1919, our beloved Mrs. Hattie (Mosby) Johnson was born to the union of the late James Mosby and Hattie Austin Mosby (of whom she is the namesake), in Estill (Washington County), Mississippi. In the early morning hours of Sept. 12, 2020, as she slept in her home in Greenville (Washington County), Mississippi, Mrs. Johnson transitioned into eternal rest.
At 14 years of age, a young Hattie Mosby accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and personal Savior and was baptized at Williams Chapel Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Rev. Tommy Williams in Stringtown (Bolivar County), Mississippi. Just prior to the death of her mother, on December 28, 1940, in Greenville, Mississippi, she was joined in holy matrimony to the late Rev. J.J. Johnson by the late Rev. Samuel Gardener. To this union nine children were born.
In 1941, Rev. and Mrs. J.J. Johnson relocated from Stringtown to Greenville. In 1945, both Rev. and Mrs. J.J. Johnson joined Kindling Altar Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville under the leadership of the late Rev. L. J. Harris. Mrs. Johnson enjoyed 75 years of highly-valued commitment to her Membership Church, as she remained a devoted member until the time of her passing. Throughout her lifetime, Mrs. Johnson exemplified her dedication to Jesus Christ via multitudes of commitments and deeds, including more than 37 years of service as “First-Lady of the Church” and longstanding dutiful service on the “Mothers’ Board” of Kindling Altar M.B. Church.
In 1970, finally an empty nester, Mrs. Johnson eagerly ventured into the world of work. With long-term dedicated service as a Nutritionist and Cafeteria Worker, she enthusiastically supported the young people and educators of Coleman Junior High School (in the Greenville Public School District) and the surrounding local community. After more than 20 years of service, Mrs. Johnson retired in 1993.
Mrs. Johnson was lovingly called “Sister” by her siblings. Conversely, it was Mrs. Johnson’s late husband, Rev. J.J. Johnson, who first nicknamed her “Shortie”, partly as a means of wittily calling out her petite stature, especially as compared to his six-feet-and-eight-inches towering frame. After her husband’s passing, the term of endearment was carried on by their children. At some point, Mrs. Johnson would even graciously laugh and respond when one of her grandchildren respectfully added their own twist(s) to the nickname. Altogether, nearly all who came into contact with Mrs. Johnson soon discovered the irony in the notion that such lofty patience, resilience and integrity; such enormous strength, loyalty and dignity; such a tall order of support, generosity and forgiveness – such grandiose unconditional love – could all reside in such a small frame.
Mother Johnson lived a full and committed life of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5: 22-23). She consistently established herself with a demonstrated reverence for God, a heart of compassion, kindness and trust. She was unashamedly spiritually upright and unapologetically fearless. The wisdom and virtues of this “Proverbs 31 Woman” are genuinely praiseworthy. Her loved ones were truly blessed.
Mrs. Hattie Johnson was preceded in death by her late husband, Rev. J.J. Johnson (Jan. 11, 1980). Her firstborns, twins James “Shug” Johnson (May 29, 2019) and his sister Geraldine Johnson, who expired as a newborn, also preceded their mother in death. Giselle Monike Johnson (January 1976), age 10, alongside her sister Diana Kaye Johnson (January 1976), age 8, daughters of Johnny O. Johnson, and later Sean O. Johnson, the son of John O. Johnson (April 16, 1994) preceded their grandmother in death. Alpha H. Love Johnson-Davis, the grandson of Dr. Hattie M. Johnson, preceded his great-grandmother in death when he passed away at 4-days-old (August 13, 2013). Her father James Mosby, her mother Hattie Austin Mosby, her maternal grandmother Rosalee, her maternal grandfather Aaron Austin, Sr., and her maternal great-grandmother Millie (a former slave) each preceded her in death. Of her brothers and sisters, Aaron Austin, Jr. (Uncle Jason), Roscoe Mosby (Uncle Caesar), Thomas Mosby (Twin to Aunt Rosalee), Millie Marie Davis (Aunt Millie), Carrie Lee Cooper (Aunt Snook), Mildred Johnson (Aunt Girlie, Twin to Milton Mosby), and Rosalee Williams (Aunt Rose) preceded her in death.
She leaves to deeply mourn her homegoing: two daughters, Dr. Hattie M. Johnson, of Ridgeland, Mississippi, and Shirley Jean Mumford, of Indianapolis, Indiana; six sons, Johnny O. Johnson, of Greenville, Mississippi, Melvin I. Johnson (Earline) and Bobby Rashad Johnson (Alima), of Los Angeles, California, Rev. Roosevelt Johnson (Barbara), of Greenville, Mississippi, Robert L. Johnson (Dorothy), of Detroit, Michigan, and Rev. Freddie Lee Johnson (Nita), of Memphis, Tennessee; one sister, Melvina Stewart (Aunt Dollie) of Portland, Arkansas; One brother, Milton Mosby (Uncle Butch) of Des Moines, Iowa; a special Aunt, Catherine Wise (John) of Greenville, Mississippi; 35 grandchildren, at least 75 great-grandchildren, more than 50 great-great-grandchildren, step- grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
With great regret, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the family must forego viewing(s) and a traditional church service. Graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Sept. 26, in Delta Memorial Gardens.
The Johnson family asks that cards, gifts, and donations/love offerings be directed to Mrs. Johnson’s youngest daughter, Dr. Hattie M. Johnson, at P.O. Box 2952, Ridgeland, Mississippi 39158.
Flowers may be offered at Redmon Funeral Home, 442. N Broadway St., Greenville, MS 38701.