Morris L. Johnson, Sr., 85, of Bethlehem, PA transitioned from Labor to Reward on Friday August 28, 2020 while in the care of the Lehigh Valley Health Network-Inpatient Hospice. Born in Hardaway, Alabama on May 19, 1935, he was the son of the late Robert and Victoria Johnson. The Johnsons moved from Alabama to New Jersey in 1949 where Morris finished his secondary education, graduating from Jamesburg High School (NJ) in 1953. Morris was drafted into the United States Armed Forces (Army) and served as a Medic (Psychiatric) until his honorable discharge in 1964.
During that time, Morris met a young pianist, Juanita, at the Old Ship of Zion Baptist Church in Englishtown, NJ. After a short courtship, the two were married in 1962. As a young husband and father of 2 sons, Morris Jr. “Chip” and Terence, Morris used his G.I. Benefits to further his education. Morris enrolled at Seton Hall University, East Orange, NJ, completing his studies within 3 years with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and becoming one of the first black Certified Public Accountants in the State of New Jersey. After the birth of twins, Michana and Kerwin, Morris went on the pursue a Master of Business Administration Degree from Farleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ. Morris spent the next 18 years working at Ortho-McNeil-Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) in a variety of accounting and finance director roles. During his last 2 years of employment, Morris had the opportunity to teach at Hampton University, Hampton, VA as an executive-on-loan in the School of Business where he started the Black Executive Exchange Program (B.E.E.P.). Morris went on to teach as an adjunct professor locally before officially retiring.
Morris was very active in his local churches, both at the St. John’s Baptist Church (Scotch Plains, NJ) and Grace Deliverance Baptist Church (Bethlehem, PA). He served as a member of the Deacon and Trustee boards as well as a learned Bible Teacher for over 40 years.
More important than any of his career or religious contributions, Morris was a man who adored his family which he lovingly called his “clan”. He was a devoted and loving husband, and an active father and grandfather. He instilled into his children the disciplines of hard work, determination, resilience, and an “anything is possible” mindset. Morris' big, warm, infectious smile made everyone around him feel "at home" and he passed that "Johnson Smile" down to his children. His heart was just as big as his smile as he and his wife volunteered weekly delivering meals through Meals on Wheels. Morris made sure to capture every family moment through the lens of his photo and video cameras. He loved to play golf and had a love for learning (a history buff). He was outgoing and kind to everyone he encountered. Held in high regard, Morris will truly be missed by all who knew him.
Morris is survived by wife, Juanita (Henry); children, Morris Johnson Jr. “Chip”, Terence Johnson (Donna), Michana Brown (Owen), Kerwin Johnson (Shirley); grandchildren, Kerwin “K.C.”, Lydia, Victoria, Kavon, Kiannah; great grandchildren, Ky’lynn, Jayla and Jiselle Johnson and countless extended family. He is predeceased by his parents, Robert and Victoria, brother, Marion and sister, Beatrice Ann.
The viewing will take place on Sunday, September 6, 2020 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at Judd-Beville Funeral Home, 1314 West Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA. The viewing will be held under controlled conditions (masks are required, and a limited number of persons will be allowed in the funeral home at a time).
Funeral services are private.
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