Sam L. Johnson, 91, of Cole Camp, died Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, at his home. He was born on August 6, 1922, at Parkville, Mo., on Parkville College grounds at the home of his parents a son of James Franklin and Fannie Ellen (Wallis) Johnson. He was a fighter from the beginning, born at only three pounds and fitting in a shoebox.
As a young boy, the family moved to the Gravois Mills area, where he attended school and helped his father cut saw logs. In 1932, at the age of 17, he joined the CC Camp at Ft. Leonardwood, where he was a Golden Glove Boxing champ.
On April 19, 1947, in Versailles, he was united in marriage to Velma Jane (Branstetter) by Rev. Bright. Sam worked as a ranch hand for the E. W. Thompson Ranch in Sedalia, the Coosbay Sawmill in Coosbay, Oregon, rendering plants in Missouri and Iowa, and several dairy farms in Iowa before moving to Kansas City in 1964. He then worked as a laminator for KC Booth, retiring in 1984. After his retirement, he lived on a farm west of Ionia, until 1999, when he and his wife moved to Cole Camp.
He enjoyed spending time with his family, attending church, riding bikes and horses, gardening, doing yard work, hunting and driving his Cadillacs.
Besides his wife, he is survived by five daughters, Mary Jane Frame and her husband Vernon of Sedalia, Janet Hamby of Sedalia, Sandra Wheeler and her husband Lonnie of Kansas City, Sherry Eckler and her husband Don of Cole Camp, and Dama Cooper and her husband Matthew of Cole Camp; four sons, Samuel Johnson and his wife Joyce of Cole Camp, Donald Johnson of Cole Camp, Daniel Johnson and his wife Connie of Sedalia, and Francis Johnson of Cole Camp; 30 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Fannie Johnson, four sisters, Betty, Melinda, Ollie, and Ethel, two brothers, Claude and Lloyd, three sons, Lary Dean Johnson, Elwood Johnson, and David Johnson, and two daughters, Juanita Sue James and Baby Girl Johnson.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Fox Funeral Home, Cole Camp, with Rev. Donald Curtis, Rev. Mike Jackson, and Rev. Dewayne Jackson officiating. Burial will be in Memorial Cemetery, rural Cole Camp.
Pallbearers will be Samuel Johnson, Donald Johnson, Daniel Johnson, Francis Johnson, Don Eckler, Matt Cooper, Lonnie Wheeler, and Sean Frame. Honorary pallbearers will be Vernon Frame, Scotty Johnson, Eric Johnson, Jimmy Frame, Aaron Ferrell, Adam Ferrell, Jesse Eckler, Derek Eckler and Mark Cooper.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday at the funeral home.
The family suggests memorial contributions be given to New Life Pentecostal Church of Warrensburg or Memorial Cemetery in care of the Fox Funeral Home, Cole Camp.