Willis Bay Johnson, Sr., 48, son of the late Benjamin and Alice Jenkins Johnson, was born March 22, 1956 in Beaufort County, South Carolina. This generous and loving spirit slipped peacefully away on Sunday, October 17, 2004 at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.
Willis was educated in the local public schools of Beaufort County and was a 1974 graduate of Beaufort High School. After graduating, he enlisted in the United States Navy where he served his country honorably for twenty years and was trained to become a skilled electrician. During his military career, he traveled extensively to many countries including the Netherlands, Puerto Rico and Egypt. In 1994, he retired from the military and returned home to St. Helena Island. He continued his education while retired and attained his Commercial Drivers License (CDL).
Willis was lovingly married to Jennell Vivian McKnight Johnson for twenty seven years. He was dedicated and devoted to his family and saw all four of his children off to college. “Bay” as he was affectionately called by his family and friends, served as a mentor throughout his life and touched many lives. He rededicated his life to Christ and was a member of New Life Deliverance Temple, under the leadership of Pastor Freddie L. Solomon.
Willis will be truly missed and his memory will be forever cherished by his precious wife, Jennell Vivian Johnson; his children, Willis Gerard Johnson, Jr., St. Helena Island, SC, Tara Katrece Johnson, Fayetteville, NC, Stephanie Charlette Johnson, Rock Hill, SC and Jayme Acetra Johnson, Florence, SC; two granddaughters, Jordan R. Johnson and Kyler R. Johnson, Summerville, SC.
He also leaves his beloved siblings, Joe Johnson, Gracie Walker, Nathaniel Johnson (Susanne), St. Helena Island, SC, Isaac Johnson (Jacqueline), Jacksonville, FL, Rebecca Brown, Burton, SC, Norma Smalls (Williams) and Benjamin Rick Johnson, St. Helena Island, SC; one aunt, Redell Smith, Manhattan, NY.
He is also survived by his devoted in-laws, father and mother-in-law, Robbie and Daisydene Bolles; Ida mae Alson (Arthur), Dora D. James (Bernard), St. Helena Island, SC, Robin Steplight (Bernard), Savannah, GA, Robbie Bolles, Jr. (Wilda), Gray’s Hill, SC, Charles Bolles (Mary), Rosa Bolles, St. Helena Island, SC, Marlo Bolles, Atlanta, GA, Myron Bolles (Pamela), Sharon Bolles, Daron Bolles (Caroline), St. Helena Island, SC, Deslyn Bolles (Annette), Atlanta, GA; Isaiah Campbell, Gray’s Hill, SC and John Ferguson, Burton, SC; a special sister, Rose Green, Burton, SC; special cousins, Donald Smith ( Greta), Charlotte, NC and Gary Smith (Cheryl), New York, NY; two goddaughters, a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, other relatives and friends.
Willis will be greeted in heaven by his loved ones who have gone on before; his parents, his sister, Elizabeth Alston and Gwendolyn Campbell and his beloved aunt, Martha Ferguson and they will welcome him home.