Paul Johnson, 87, of Fredericksburg died Friday, April 1, 2022. He was born in Owensboro, Kentucky on April 10, 1934, the son of the late Hazel Earl Johnson and LM Johnson.
Paul attended high school at Daviess County High School and graduated in 1951. He was an outstanding basketball player scoring 51 points in one game. While in the army stationed in Germany, he founded a basketball team and was very successful.
Paul joined the Army in 1953 and served 20 years in the 11th Airborne Division (Ft. Campbell, KY) and later in the US Army Special Forces, 1st, 5th, 6th and 7th Group (Fort Bragg) . He made 3 tours in Vietnam and Laos. Paul was awarded the Purple Heart, three Army Medals of Honor, Army Air Medal, Vietnamese Special Forces Honorary Jump Wings, Thai Paratrooper Wings, two Combat Infantryman Badges , the Vietnamese Cross of Bravery, numerous good conduct medals and a letter of recommendation. Paul has completed Special Warfare School, Military Justice Academy, Explosive Ordnance School, Map Compilation School, Psychological Warfare Battalion, US Navy Diving School, Qualification HALO and intelligence analysts. He retired as an E-8 Master Sergeant.
In 1964 Paul married Joyce C. Johnson in the Post Chapel at Fort Bragg. In 1965, her daughter Paula was born. He retired in 1973 to Fayetteville, North Carolina. Paul worked in the heating and air conditioning industry before starting a garage door business called S&R Garage Door Company and then retired permanently in 1999.
In retirement, he enjoyed gardening and spent many hours volunteering at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He became a master gardener and enjoyed growing hostas. His backyard in Fayetteville is said to have about 75 different varieties of hostas. Paul spent many years in stables and at horse shows with his daughter, Paula. He enjoyed gardening and deep-sea fishing with his best friend, Pat Ross. Paul was a jack of all trades and would help anyone in need. In 2010, he moved from Fayetteville to Fredericksburg with his wife Joyce and spent all of his time spoiling his grandson, Nicholas. You could find Paul either in his garden, making blue birdhouses, feeding the birds, or fellowshipping with other veterans. He enjoyed volunteering every Thursday at American Legion Post 320 for Bingo Night. Paul will be greatly missed and was a true American hero.
Survivors include his daughters, Paula J. Kallay (Nicholas), Phuong T. “Maria” Khong (Tin), and Cynthia Johnson; grandchildren Nicholas Paul Kallay, Angela H. Khong, Joe Do and Joseph M. Khong; nephew Jeffrey Fout; sister Ruby N. Martin (George); brother Moses Johnson (Shirley); and extended family members.
He was predeceased by his wife, Joyce C. Johnson; mother Hazel E. Johnson; father Leroy M. Johnson; and brothers Hubert Johnson and JW Bailey.
The family would like to give special thanks to the staff at Cardinal Village and the Spotsylvania American Legion Post 320.
A memorial service to honor Paul’s life and military service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 18, 2022 at the Covenant Funeral Service, Fredericksburg. A celebration of life and remembrance will be held at noon on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at St. Katherine Drexel. Interment will follow at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors, at a later date. From Oppresso Liber!
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to American Legion Post 320, Spotsylvania, VA.