Farming Rural 03

Willie Earl ("Smokey") Johns

November 17, 1944 ~ August 16, 2020 (age 75)


Mr. Willie Earl “Smokey” Johns, age 75, of Waycross, passed away Sunday afternoon (8/16/20) at Memorial Satilla Health in Waycross following a brief illness.

Born November 17, 1944 in Ware County, he was a son of the late Lois Alvin and Mahala Christine White Johns. He was the seventh child out of 10 children.

Following graduation from Ware County High School, Smokey began his railroad career on June 19, 1963. He was employed by Atlantic Coast Line Railroad as a Sheet Metal worker and as an Air Brake Specialist. The company changed its name to SCL Railroad and then to CSX Transportation. He retired from CSXT Railroad following 41 years of service. He also worked for Locomotive Specialists, Southeast Locomotive Service, Progressive Rail, and St. Marys Railroad.

When he wasn’t railroading, he found time to help his wife and two sons on the family farm. He had even tried his hand in the ostrich business and also spent many years working for Jim Roberson Carpet Service and Waycross Floor Covering. He was a man of many talents.

An active member of the Waycross Seventh Day Adventist Church, he had served as Community Service Leader, Deacon, Head Deacon, Elder, and Head Elder. He loved his family and church family very much.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings, William Alvin Johns, J.L. “Vern” (Jaunell) Johns, Wainell Corbitt, Connie Ophelia Tatum, Robert L. (Wilma) Johns, Henry Ferrell Johns, and Nelson Edwin Johns; nieces and nephews, Donna Jean Johns, Brenda Johns, Debbie Johns, Michella Rhen Thomas, Jo Ann Hartley, Mary Broxton, Darrell Broxton, Jr., Herbert Johns, Chris Johns, and Jason Hicks; his father and mother-in-law, James B. and Viola “Polly” Roberson; brothers-in-law, James C. Roberson and Bernard Wall.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Mary Kay Johns of Waycross (originally from San Diego, California); 2 sons, Rick Earl Johns (wife Nancy) and James “Randy” Johns of Ware County; daughter, Sonja Marie Thomas (husband Brian) of Highland, Indiana; one brother, Eugene Johns (wife Gail) of Waycross, one sister, Barbara Ann Wall of Pearson; grandchildren, Ethan and Marlei Sherrod; step grandchildren, Mark and Jessica Joiner and Will Medders; foster children, Kris Roberson, Freddy Smith (Teresa), Jimmy Tatum, Dennis Gardenhire, Joey and Santino “Buddy” Andreoli, Ronnie Wilkerson, Jay Mosley, Ralph Steedley, Jimmy Thomas; his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Donna Faye and Wesley McQuaig; nieces and nephews, Margaret (Donald) Corbett, Ronnie (Sherry) Johns, Danny (Brenda) Johns, Don Johns, Gloria Johns (Matt) Lloyd, Sherry (Kenny) McDonald, Danielle (Daniel) Wilkerson, Melody (Jason) Hicks, Jimmy Roberson, Ben Peacock, Tammy Roberson, Amy Strickland, Connie Broxton, Christine Tatum, Jimmy Tatum, Phyllis (Lamar) Hickox, Lloyd “Buddy” (Rhonda) Johns, Timmy (Teresa) Johns, Becky (Jeff) McDonald, Terry Johns, Shelly Johns (Mike Schlachtun), Joy (Dewayne) Thrift, Scottie (Lanie) Johns, and Kenny (Jill) Johns; and several other relatives.

Memorialization was by cremation.

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Hart Funeral Home of Blackshear was in charge of arrangements.

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