Monday, December 1, 2008

Mayor Valley's Statement on the Death of Alderman Eugene "Red" Johnson

Press Release

For Immediate Release

For More Information Please Contact

Mayor James F. Valley

(870) 817-4035 | (870) 572-3421 | (800-517-7240)

The City of Helena-West Helena is saddened by the death of longtime City Councilman Eugene Johnson affectionately known as "Red."

Eugene Johnson was born and reared in Fort Smith, Arkansas where he attended the St. John Catholic School and later graduated from Lincoln High School.

Johnson died, at his home, surrounded by his family, this morning, after a short illness. He was 76.

Red served a three and one-half (3 ½) year stint in the United States Army and fought in the Korean War and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant.

Almost 50 years ago, Red married the former Ruth Norwood who was by his side until the end. They had four children: Rodney, Patrick, Kimberly and Millicent; three adorable granddaughters: Azariah, Kyla and Alexis and one charmingly handsome grandson, Nicholaus.

Mr. Johnson was well educated. He graduated from the Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, with a BA Degree in Social Studies and Pre-Social Work. Mr. Johnson later obtained a Master's Degree in Secondary Education from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR. Mr. Johnson also earned a Specialist Degree in the Superintendency from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Mr. Johnson completed further studies at Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge, LA and Oregon College of Education in Mammoth, OR.

Red was an educator. He taught social studies to school children in the at Chicot County High School, Dermott, Arkansas for eight years. He then taught social studies at C. V. White High School, Lakeview, Arkansas for eight years. He then served as principal at C.V. White High School until his retirement.

Johnson was a member of the Pettis Memorial CME Church where Rev. Fannie Washington was his pastor. Mr. Johnson served as a member and Chair of Steward Board and a member of the Board of Trustees. He was also on the Board of Directors of the Pettis Memorial Church Day Care Center.


Johnson served the Helena-West Helena community as alderman since Jan. 1, 2003 and was in his 3rd term of office and had been elected to a 4th term. While on the council, Mr. Johnson served on the Personnel Committee and other committees.

Red enjoyed his retirement. "I have fond memories of Red saying "I'm an Alpha and you're a Kappa but I love Red and I drive a red Cadillac"" Mayor James F. Valley said. "Red was a serious man who deeply loved his family, his church and this community." Red also had a knack for concluding his statements with "and everything."

"Mr. Johnson was involved, concerned and informed. His leadership will be missed by us," said Mayor James F. Valley. "I had a wonderful and honorable experience working with Red since our new city's birth. He provided practical guidance and keen wisdom to our city government and its employees." We should never forget that Red always forced the discussion to be about a "new way of thinking to solve old problems."

Douglas Malloch said, "It isn't by size that you win or you fail- Be the best of whatever you are!" Mr. Johnson was a man of principle. "Red championed representative democracy and leading by example. He as a great man and a dear friend and tried in every way to be the best."

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Johnson family during this difficult time. The mayor has directed that flags within the city limits be flown at half-staff (half mast) for the next the 15 days.

# # #

Stay informed: (Mayor Valley's Homepage) (Mayor's Journal)

Honorable James F. Valley
MAYOR - Helena West Helena
P O Box 248
Helena-West Helena, 72342
870-572-3421 Phone
870-572-5034 Fax
870-817-4035 Cell (Facebook)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My name is Robert Moss from fort smith,ar. And I was a very good friend to Eugene Johnson. We visited this summer,and I was so pleased to see him one more time.I"ll miss him so much. To his family I sent my deepest sympathy. My thoughts and prays go out to you.Sincerely Robert Moss