SUNRISE: July 26, 1925 – SUNSET: December 19, 2008
Eddy Johnson left this earthly life on the evening of Friday, December 19, after a brief battle with cancer at his Hearthstone home with Hospice by his side. He was 83 years old.
Born of humble beginnings in Baldwin, MI, Eddy escaped the cold to Galveston Island in 1947, working the docks with his Uncle Gunnar. He met and married the love of his life, Dorris Stechmann, on June 23, 1948, and became Galveston’s most loyal “IBC.” A man of high integrity, he achieved success as Manager of Chalmers Hardware, a position he held with pride for over 30 years, charming his customers into friends.
Throughout his life, he gave back to his adopted city in many ways. While still at Black Hardware, he chaired the city’s March of Dimes campaign. He acted at the Galveston Little Theatre, chaired United Way committees and served on the Galveston Chamber of Commerce Board. He was the first honorary president of the University Area Association. Non-profits knew they could count on him for auction donations. When Judy Scheibel managed Ashton Villa, Eddy made sure that new American flags flew from its fence.
Among his affiliations, he served on the Board of Handy Hardware in Houston for 11 years. He belonged to the downtown Rotary Club, the Sunday Morning Coffee Club, the Texas Navy and the Krewe of Momus. In addition, he belonged to the Elks Lodge BPOE #126, achieving the distinction of being the “longest member” of 58 years.
Together, he and his wife traveled to “Hell (Grand Cayman) and Back.” From sailing on the Stella Solaris to taking a “slow boat to China,” they experienced Asia, England, France, Italy and Mexico. Little did this Baldwin boy ever think he’d have these opportunities! He and Dorris motored New England in Eddy’s 1973 candy-apple red Oldsmobile convertible. He also made annual treks “up home” to MI; his last trip was in November, 2007.
He retired from Chalmers in October, 2000 so that he could watch baseball, read the Galveston Daily News and spend time with his ailing wife, who died October 30, 2001. Eddy Johnson is survived by daughter, Jan Johnson and her “Gentleman Friend,” Gene Bindhammer; sisters Joyce Gibbs and husband, David of Wyoming, MI and Ruth Yerke and husband Franklin of Knightdale, NC; and brother, Charles “Chuck” Johnson and wife, Joyce, of Grand Rapids, MI. He also leaves multitudes of nieces and nephews in MI, descending the generations, to remember his wide trademark smile.
Funeral services will be held at St. Joseph’s Church, 22nd and Ave K on Monday, December 22 from 4 – 6 pm. The Elks will say good bye first in their tradition, then long-time friend Rev. Ray Pinard will complete the service. Eddy will take his last plane ride to Michigan where he will be buried in the family plot in Baldwin along with Dorris’ ashes. Since he passed a mere 27 hours after his closest sister, Evelyn, died, we plan to hold a double graveyard ceremony in the early spring, when the ground thaws.
Jan and Gene would like to acknowledge those who made this most trying time much easier. To expert manager Ben Tragethon and his Hearthstone staff for easing Dad’s passing; Drs. Schmalstieg and Quach; a special Thank You to the caring and skilled hospital sitters, Ruth Richardson and daughter Cynthia Fontenille; to Kat Osborn and her Adult ESL class at McWhirter Elementary for their understanding and prayers; dear friends and neighbors Cryss Senna-Pierce, Lynn and Mike Burke, Joann Hall and Sally Laney from Big Pine Key, FL for all her kindnesses; close cousin Eileen Gifford and husband Gaylord, finally, Betsy Hatherill at NewSound.