Jesse Donovan Johnson, 79, of St. Simons Island, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010, at Hospice of the Golden Isles.
He was born May 2, 1931, in Meridian to the late Floyd John Johnson and Sarah Gladys Smith Johnson.
He served in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Leyte (CV-32) during the Korean Conflict and was honorably discharged in 1953.
He graduated from Mississippi State University with both a bachelor’s and master’s education. He was the head basketball coach at Winona High School in Winona.
He then became the head basketball and baseball coach at Starkville High School, Starkville and was principal of Overstreet Elementary School.
After leaving the public school system, he became the first headmaster of Starkville Academy in Starkville. He then became the director of extracurricular activities for the Mississippi Private School Association.
In 1973, he moved to Brunswick and became head basketball coach and later served as assistant principal at Brunswick High School.
In 1977, he became the principal at Burroughs-Molette Elementary, where he guided the school to its designation as a 1986 National School of Excellence.
Upon retiring from the Glynn County School System in 1989, he became the first pastor of Christian Renewal Church of St. Simons, where he served until his retirement in 2000. For the last several years, he has worked as a golf course starter for the Sea Island Company.
Survivors include his wife, Anne Haney Johnson; son, John Thomas Johnson, and his wife, Adrian, and their daughters, Liza and Mary Win of St. Simons Island, Ga.; daughter, Patti Garretson and her husband, Garry, of Forsyth, Ga., their sons, Cal and his wife Holly and their daughter Caroline, Pepper and his fiancé Anne, Charlie and Ben; son, Jim and his wife, Jennifer, and their daughters Mary and Hanna of Marietta, Ga. He is also survived by a brother, Floyd John Johnson and his wife Sheila, and a sister Sarah Dodd and her husband, Jimmy all of Starkville. Don is also survived by a host of nieces and nephews.
A memorial celebration of life service will be held today at 3 p.m. at Christian Renewal Church of St. Simons, 6530 Frederica Road. His body has been donated to the Medical College of Georgia.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in his memory be made to Christian Renewal Church of St. Simons, 6530, Frederica Road, St. Simons Island, Georgia, Care Net Pregnancy Center, 3548 Community Road, Brunswick, Georgia 3152, Hospice of the Golden Isles, 1692 Glynco Parkway, Brunswick, GA, 31525. Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of local arrangements.