Peter Ray Johnson was born in Beatrice, Alabama on April 28, 1933 in his parents home with the assistance of a midwife. He was the sixth child of the late Mack Lawrence Johnson and the late Minnie Malone Johnson. Both sides of his family lineage, the Johnsons and the Malones had some very unique persons among their number, and early on it was clear that young Peter was going to take his place among alongside them. As a boy, Peter was a boy scout, and developed talents in art, music and athletics. He won contests in free hand drawing and he also won a competition sponsored by Ford Motor Company to design a futuristic automobile. Peter would attend Monroe County Training School (Now JF Shields High School) where he payed in the band and starred on the football team, scoring the winning touchdown in the big Homecoming Game in his senior year. After graduating from MCTS in 1952, young Peter saw his country fighting in a bloody struggle on the Korean Peninsula and he volunteered to join the world’s toughest and finest war fighting organization, the United States Marine Corps. After completing boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. and advanced infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California and in Japan, he deployed to the war zone in the Republic of Korea in the winter of 1952-53, where temperatures would routinely register at 30 degrees below zero. He was decorated several times for heroism and bravery in action. After his discharge from the Marine Corps in 1955, he returned to his hometown where he would reside for another year before deciding to relocate to New York City, a place that offered many more opportunities than his hometown did.
After arriving in New York, he studied at Pratt Institute, becoming a qualified machinist and tool and die maker. It was in 1956 that young Peter would meet the woman that became the love of his life through mutual friends. He would go on to marry Doris Burney in 1958, and their union would endure for 59 years, ending only by Doris Burney Johnson’s transition in 2018. Their beautiful union produced three children, twin girls Lorraine and Loretta ,b. 1962 and a son, Eric ,b.1965 Peter spent the bulk of his working life in New York as a Road Car Inspector and train repairman. He would spend 21 years at NYCTA, retiring in 1987 While living in New York, Dr Johnson would become active in Allen AME Church where he became member of the Steward Board. He also became an avid bowler and golfer. He won dozens of trophies in both sports, he bowled several perfect games with a score of 300.
In 1989, Peter and his wife Doris decided to relocate to Raleigh, NC to enjoy their retirement years. It was while living in Raleigh, Peter made the decision to commit his life to the ministry, and teaching and preaching the word of God. He would earn a master’s degree in Divinity from Shaw University and a Doctor of Ministry from Slidell Baptist Seminary. Dr Johnson would eventually pastor several churches in Johnston County as well as lead Bible study sessions in senior citizens homes, and participate in prison ministry in Wake and Harnett Counties. Dr Johnson and his wife Doris became members of Martin Street Baptist Church after his retirement from pastoral duties. They both became beloved and very active members at Martin Street. Doris would precede him in death in 2018. Dr Johnson was one of eight children. His siblings included five sisters: Elizabeth Johnson Kennedy of Jamaica, NY Bernice Johnson Richardson of Beatrice, Alabama, Jewell Johnson Cunningham of Jamaica, NY, Frances Johnson Henderson of Queens, NY, and Gwendolyn Johnson Acree of Teaneck, NJ. He had two brothers as well: Mack Lawrence Johnson Jr. of Beatrice, Alabama, and William Johnson of Nassau County, NY. All of his siblings save Jewell have preceded him in death. He is survived as well by his three children, Eric L. Johnson of Raleigh, NC, Loretta D. Johnson of Maryland, and Lorraine Johnson-Coleman of Washington State. Dr Johnson also had five grandchildren, two great grandchildren and many cousins,nieces and nephews who loved “Uncle Pete” dearly. Dr Peter Ray Johnson departed this life on February 12, 2021 after a month long battle with severe illness.Dr. Johnson was a passionate servant of Christ as well as a jokester who loved making people laugh. He will be truly missed by many, many people.
Funeral Service: 11:00 AM, Saturday, February 27, 2021 at Lea Funeral Home Chapel, 2500 Poole Road, Raleigh, NC.
Public Viewing: 4:00 - 8:00 PM, Saturday, February 27, 2021 at Lea Funeral Home.
Visitation: 10:30 AM - 11:00 AM preceding the funeral service at the chapel.
Interment: 2:00 PM, Monday, March 1, 2021 at Eastern Carolina Veterans Cemetery, Goldsboro, NC
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