Dr. Ernie L. Johnson, 74, of New Castle, Virginia, passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 3, at Roanoke Memorial Hospital, surrounded by those who loved him most. The 14th chapter of John was read, a hymn was sung and prayers were spoken.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Daryl Johnson; and by his brother, Jay Johnson. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Ruth, sons, Wade (Sheila), and John “Bucky” (Melinda) and his favorite daughter, Amanda (Duane), grandchildren, Jasmin, Rachel, Virginia, Morgan, Will, and Isaiah, and two great-granddaughters, Zaylin and Abigail.
Called by God into the ministry at age 16 and tutored by his beloved grandfather, Challie Greer, he spent his life preaching God’s message in Eastern Kentucky and Western Virginia. He also served as chaplain at Lewis Gale and Catawba Hospital for over 20 years. Dr. Johnson received his formal education from Kentucky Christian College, Bethany College and the University of Kentucky, receiving his Ph.D. in counseling, which he laughingly referred to as his “Post Hole Diggers Degree.”
He had a positive influence in each community he served, as well as in the lives of many. He did not prejudge, nor did he think more highly of himself than he should, always striving to follow the Lord’s example.
He was an avid sports fan cheering on the Kentucky Wildcats and the Cincinnati Reds. He proudly displayed his Kentucky Colonel award bestowed upon him by Martha Layne Collins, former governor of Kentucky, in 1985.
The family would like to thank all who visited, prayed and helped with his care, especially Katrina from Kindred Home Health, whom Ernie came to love. She provided more than physical care and cheered him on during difficult days.
A celebration of Ernie’s life will be held at the New Castle Christian Church Saturday, August 10. Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m., and the service conducted by Eric Burger and Eddie Hammond will begin at 11:00 a.m. Those wishing to do so may make memorial donations to the Craig County Rescue Squad, who answered many calls during Ernie’s illness. Arrangements by Paitsel Funeral Home. www.paitselfh.com
“Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’” Revelation 14:13