It is with great sadness that on October 21, 2021, Ernest Powell Johnson of Fort Worth, TX passed away at the age of 82 with family by his side. He will be remembered by his family, including children: Mark Johnson and wife Mary Russell Roberson, Eric Johnson and wife Penny Warren, Kirk Johnson and wife Heather Walters, Cassie Johnson and husband Jason Clark; former wife Yvonne Johnson; siblings: Kenneth Johnson and wife Patricia Johnson, Virginia Kossoff and husband Robert Kossoff; grandchildren: Susannah Roberson, Sarah Walters, Kirsten Walters, Eleanor Warren-Johnson, and Mayer Clark, and other relatives. Ernest will also be missed by the many friends he volunteered with, fellow Valparaiso University alumni, and members of Trinity Lutheran Church. He was predeceased by his parents, Powell and Louise Johnson. Ernest was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He left home to pursue his education and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Valparaiso University and a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Southern Illinois University. Throughout his collegiate career he was recognized for his involvement in journalism, including serving as the managing editor of The Torch, Valparaiso’s weekly newspaper, and as a columnist for Southern Illinois’ Daily Egyptian newspaper. Ernest enjoyed a 30-year career with IBM (1961-1991) focused on product development, systems engineering/marketing support, and business processes. Following ‘retirement’ he launched Six Sigma Communications, a sole proprietorship/consultancy business, in which he edited and published applications for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for performance excellence. Among Ernest’s hobbies were genealogy, his church, food, and family. He enjoyed helping others do family research when volunteering at the National Archives at Fort Worth, all the while trying to fill in the gaps on his own family tree. Ernest found the worship and fellowship at Trinity Lutheran Church fulfilling and often served as an usher, lector, and member of various congregational committees. Anyone who knew him well knows that Ernest was a true foodie, constantly tuning in to the Food Network and scouring magazines and the internet for any recipe he thought sounded interesting. Ernest took delight in having Cassie, Jason, Mayer, and Yvonne nearby, as it permitted frequent impromptu visits and opportunities to celebrate holidays and birthdays together. Throughout his life Ernest participated in civic and community-based volunteer work centered on urban planning and zoning, homelessness, affordable/accessible housing, and service to his church and alma mater. He volunteered without any expectation of receiving credit for his work but did so because he fiercely believed in these causes. From the mid-1980s to mid-1990s he served on a multitude of committees for the City of Southlake, such as the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Capital Improvements Advisory Committee, Planning and Zoning, and the Committee for a new City Hall. When Ernest moved to Fort Worth, he again sought out opportunities to serve his community. He served on the City of Fort Worth Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Addiction Services Advisory Committee for MHMR of Tarrant County, the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Homelessness, the Homeless Shelter Task Force, the Presbyterian Night Shelter, Tarrant County ACCESS (a data center managing/analyzing homelessness information), and other committees focused on addressing homelessness in our City. Ernest actively engaged with his alma mater long after graduation. He served as a board member for the Valparaiso University Alumni Association, organized and chaired the DFW Valpo Alumni Club, and was a member of the Class of 1960 50th Reunion Committee. In 2012 he was honored with the Valparaiso Alumni Community Service Award recognizing his commitment to volunteerism throughout his community and to the University. Ernest helped promote volunteerism among other seniors by working with Senior Leadership Associates. He took on handyman jobs and built handicap ramps when volunteering with groups such as Neighbor Helping Neighbor, Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County, and the Texas Ramp Project. Ernest put his carpentry skills to use for nearly 20 years volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing. He had the opportunity to build a countless number of houses both domestically and abroad alongside friends, both old and new. In his own words: “I heard and embraced Valpo’s call to service and leadership in community and church, and I am grateful for having had many opportunities to answer that call. Much of my hands-on volunteer work, often shoulder-to-shoulder with God’s families in need, has been devoted to building simple, decent housing in the United States and abroad. In this work, the results are tangible, the sense of accomplishment is immediate, and tears of joy shed by the client and partner families are unforgettable.” A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at Trinity Lutheran Church (3621 Tulsa Way, Fort Worth, TX 76107). In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Ernest’s name to the John H. Tietjen Endowment Fund (Trinity Lutheran Church, 3621 Tulsa Way, Fort Worth, TX 76107) or to a charity of your choice.
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