Maurice B. Johnson was born on Friday, December 25, 1926 in Palestine, Texas to James Avell and Henrietta Johnson. He was the youngest son of 14 children, and was fondly known as “Sonny Boy” which was a nickname that stuck with him his entire lifetime. Maurice grew up with the unique opportunity to be surrounded by family throughout a town where community and hard work were encouraged. His early education was in Palestine, and before he was barely legally grown, he enlisted in the Army, served his country and received an honorable discharge.
In his mid twenties Maurice decided to relocate to California where his parents had moved, and began to build a life for himself. His christian education began early in life, and once in California his family worshiped at El Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. Maurice was an avid reader and loved to learn. He attended LACC for a while and was employed by the US Postal Service as a carrier. He worked on a fun route in Hollywood which led to interesting conversations and collectible items. In the years that followed he married his wife of 50 years Irene. He was later sponsored by his father James in becoming a Long Shoreman in San Pedro, CA. While there he mastered many jobs and remained on post for more than 50 years. Maurice was able to work and do what he loved up to the tender age of 87 when he finally retired from the docks.
There were so many things that Maurice enjoyed. You could hardly go to any family function where he wasn’t videoing or capturing the events with pictures. His business card read: “MBJ Video Photographer” which set his entrepreneurship in action. Part of him was a kid at heart! He was a Mason earlier in life, enjoyed bowling in a league for years, playing pool with any one who was up to it, and of course he loved all things relating to Christmas. He was also an active and founding member of the 89th street block club, and always looked forward to hosting with coffee and danish after decorating the block at Christmas time. He truly enjoyed life, but the thing he loved most and that brought him the most joy was his family. You could call him Sonny Boy, Dad or Uncle Maurice and he would be there to support you in way he could. He was a man that met his responsibilities and would always heed the call for help or assistance. He worked and played hard for many years. Even after his health began to decline, he always remained hopeful that he would get strong again to do the things he once loved to do. Hope is the key, and he had lots of it. His faith kept strong through the later years and as much as he loved his life here on earth, he was quite content to be with the Lord when his time came. Now he is resting with our Father in heaven and able to enjoy the peace that so many of his loved ones before him have known. We will remember Maurice’s broad and infectious smile, the way he whistled while working or walking briskly, seeing him behind the lens of a camera or tinkering on something in the garage. He stood for family, faith, love and legacy and we will never forget him. Maurice’s favorite quote that he lived by was “reading is knowledge, knowledge is power and power is money”. Rest in peace and thank you dad for everything you taught us.
Our Dad was preceded in death by his parents James and Henrietta Johnson, wife Irene Johnson, daughter Octavia Henrietta Johnson, Step-son Charles Allen Richard, Son-in-law Ellis B. Rowe, Grandson Reginald Campbell, also known as Son. He is the last to join his parents and siblings in heaven.
He Leaves to cherish his memory sons Maurice B. Johnson and Winchell Regeinald Campbell. Daughters Antoinette M. Rowe and Judith A. Johnson. His grandchildren Harold Johnson, Tia Benson, Marcus Rowe, Nicholas Rowe and Ryan Rowe. His great-grand children Steven Benson, Tiandre Benson, Dakari Johnson, Koi Johnson, Kai Johnson. Along with 2 great great-grand children and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. To God be the Glory!
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