Obituary- Virgil Johnson

Aug 22nd, 2023 | By | Category: News, Obituaries

Mr. Virgil E. Johnson was born on January 22, 1932, in Faribault County, Minnesota. He passed away Sunday, August 13, 2023, under the loving care and comfort of his family, NHC Healthcare Tullahoma, and Hospice Compassus.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Johnson; four children: Lt. Col. Ret. Scott Johnson (Alice) of Shelbyville, TN, Curt Johnson (Julie) of Marietta, GA, Brett Johnson (Cheri) of Ooltewah, TN, and Liz Osthoff (Glenn) of Roswell, GA; grandchildren: McLain Johnson (Sara), Leigh Cooksey (Grant), Patrick Johnson (Cori), Rebecca Schuetz (David), Bryan Johnson, Drew Chartrand (Molly), Jennifer Johnson, Luke Osthoff, step-grandchildren: Donavon Robitaille (Nicole), and Jim Robitaille; great-grandchildren: Sadie Johnson, and Davy Johnson; and step-great-grandchildren: Xavier Taylor, Tristan Taylor, Tristan Robitaille, Alyssa Robitaille and Liam Robitaille; sisters: Margaret Schow and Violet Kalis.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Arnold and Martha Johnson, and his brothers-in-law Harlin Schow and Henry Kalis.
After beginning his education in a one-room country schoolhouse, Virgil graduated from Kiester High School. Virgil served in the U.S. Army from 1952 – 1954, and he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Minnesota State University in 1958.
Virgil met his beloved wife Patty working in a local cafe when a customer ordered an off-menu item, a BLT sandwich, so Patty showed him how to make one. They were married three months later—68 years ago this month.
The same year Virgil and Patty welcomed their first child in 1958, Virgil began his career at Jostens, Inc., where he would spend the entirety of his successful 36-year career in business. Having visited the town several times on business trips, Virgil recognized Shelbyville as a wonderful place for Patty and him to raise their four children. They moved to Shelbyville in 1970 when Virgil became manager of the Shelbyville Josten’s plant, a position he held until his retirement in 1994. All four of their children would go on to graduate from Shelbyville Central High School and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Just as he was a loyal family man and business leader, Virgil was also dedicated to serving the Bedford County community through many leadership roles and affiliations. His children and grandchildren, who affectionately called him “Bumpa,” joked he was the busiest retired person they knew. He served two terms as a Bedford County Commissioner and was a key leader in the successful effort to bring an Industrial Development/Commerce Business Park to Bedford County. Virgil took special pride in his involvement with the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. He was a TWHNC board member from 1993 to 2003, serving as chairman of the property committee for many years, during which he oversaw the construction of 30 new barns, the covering of Champions Arena, installment of a new drainage system, and the development of the Celebration Plaza, including the Owner’s Wall and Hall of Fame Monument. Virgil served as Chairman of the Board during his final year of service and was named to the TWHNC Hall of Fame. Virgil also served as the interim CEO of TWHNC, and in 2019 he was awarded the Evan Lloyd Adamson Humanitarian Award for his outstanding service and commitment to the Celebration.
His many other civic contributions included: active member of Christ Lutheran Church, where he was a former Sunday school teacher and council member, as well as treasurer for 50 years; past president and 34-year member of the Shelbyville Optimist Club; chairman of former mayor H.V. Griffin’s advisory board; and several roles related to his children’s activities, including Cub Scouts, Little League, and the Shelbyville Central High School Quarterback Club.
A funeral service was held August 17, 2023, at Feldhaus Memorial Chapel. Rev. Rick Stevenson officiated, with burial that followed in Willow Mount Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Virgil would be honored with contributions to Christ Lutheran Church, 500 Elm Street, Shelbyville, TN, 37160 or St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The Scoop sends our condolences to the Johnson Family.

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