GREENVILLE – On October 3, 2020, James Otto Johnson, devoted husband and father of two children, went to meet his heavenly father at the age of 56 at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC. He had a brief but valiant fight with GBM, glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive malignant brain tumor.
The memorial service will be conducted on Tuesday, October 6, 2020, at 11:00 AM in the Wilkerson Funeral Chapel, Greenville, officiated by Rev. Ben Alexander, pastor of St. James United Methodist Church. The service will be carried via live streaming at www.wilkersonfuneralhome.com.
James was born on October 2, 1964 in Inglewood, CA to James Robert Johnson and Isabel Faye Johnson. At an early age he moved to Midland, TX where he was involved in sports and graduated from Midland High School in 1982. He attended Texas Lutheran College where he played tennis and soccer and graduated in 1987 with dual degrees in chemistry and biology.
He then went to the University of North Texas and earned a master’s degree in biochemistry in 1990. He attended medical school at Saba University and completed his surgical residency at East Carolina University. He completed a fellowship in advanced laparoscopy and endoscopy at Indiana University. For the next twelve years, he worked as a general surgeon specializing in laparoscopic surgery, where he prioritized providing quality care in a minimally invasive fashion, to his patients. At the end of his career, he was working at Vidant Chowan Hospital in historical Edenton, NC.
On May 8, 2004, he married the love of his life, Amanda Jane Renner. They had two sons, Jonah and Jesse who quickly became the all-consuming joy of their lives.
James loved God above all else. He carried this faith into his relationships, his work, and his life. James had a passion not only for his work but also for adventure and especially for his family. He loved the outdoors, especially anything having to do with the water, from swimming, snorkeling, being a rescue diver, boating, and fishing, to his newest hobby, windsurfing.
James was most proud of being a daddy and enjoyed going any place two active boys wanted to go for fun, or just spending time together at home. James always found time to help others, such as volunteering for Christmas in Action and church activities. His love for reading, quick wit, and good humor made him an entertaining storyteller as he loved to make everyone around him smile and laugh. He had a courageous, loving, compassionate spirit with a love for learning and for always trying to better himself. James was a man of faith and a man of family.
James was preceded in death by his father. He is survived by his wife Mandy, his children Jonah and Jesse, his mother Faye, his stepfather Dave (Kathy) Cromwell, his brother Robert Johnson, sister Susan (Bryan) Duncan, his father-in-law and mother-in-law Steve and Mary Renner, brother-in-law Adam Renner, sister-in-law Lisa (John) Culos, and numerous nieces and nephews.
We also want to take this time to thank the Vidant medical staff and personnel as well as our friends and family who helped us during this difficult time. There are so many things to be grateful for: cards, gifts, food, prayers, and your time/help. Because of your loving support, we were able to move and spend James’s final precious days together as a family which is what the four of us really needed. Because of you all, our boys felt loved and secure. A thousand times, thank you.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the National Brain Tumor Society ‘defeat GBM’ fund, 55 Chapel St., Suite 200, Newton, MA 02458 or www.braintumor.org.