Walter Franklin Johnson, 92
March 31, 1930 - April 26, 2022
Walter Franklin Johnson, 92, resident of New Albany and former resident of Tiplersville, passed away peacefully Tuesday, April 26, 2022 at New Albany Health & Rehabilitation Center.
Funeral Services honoring the life of Mr. Johnson will be at 2 PM Friday, April 29 at First Baptist Church, New Albany with visitation from 10 AM to 2 PM. Private burial will follow in Falkner Cemetery in Tippah County. Arrangements will be provided by Ripley Funeral Home.
Mr. Johnson was born March 31, 1930 in Tiplersville, MS, the son of the late John Henry and Mary Eva Sexton Johnson. After graduating from Chalybeate High School in 1948, he attended Northeast Mississippi Community College on an athletic scholarship lettering in both basketball and baseball. He was on the starting five that lost to Southern California Junior College in the national finals in Hutchinson, Kansas in 1950, score 67 to 63. He continued his education at The University of Mississippi on a basketball scholarship graduating in 1952 with Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Education.
During the Korean War Period, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1953. His four year tenure took him to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Sampson Air Force Base, New York, Toul Rosier, France, Birkenfield Air Force Base, Germany and Jacksonville Air Force Base, Arkansas.
For the next 30 years, Mr. Johnson was connected with The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company managing company owned stores in Greenwood, MS and Crossett, AR and in private business with the Walter Johnson Tire Service in New Albany from 1962 to 1985.
Mr. Johnson served the City of New Albany as Alderman at Large and Vice-Mayor from 1981 to 1985 and Mayor from 1985 to 1993 and 1997 to 2001. During his administration The Sportsplex, The Park Along the River, The Tallahatchie Trails, the museum and the downtown Cine Theater were built.
In addition through his efforts, 150 acres of land in the heart of the city was purchased to build the sportsplex and have additional land to build the Tallahatchie Trails, tennis courts and move the soccer field to the north side of Highway 78. In 1997, he was instrumental in leading the city through the necessary steps to get the legislature to approve the Tourism Tax that now generates over a half million dollars yearly to the city.
Mr. Johnson’s last big push was to enlarge the area of the city through the annexation process. After the project was finalized, the size of the city almost doubled in area.
Mr. Johnson was a devoted member of First Baptist Church, New Albany for over 60 years and on April 25, 2016, Union County Development Association named him Citizen of the Year.
Survivors include a daughter, Jan Provenza of New Albany.
He is also preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, May L. Johnson and a brother, James Ray Johnson.
Pallbearers will be Jordan Harris, Charlie Hall, Johnny Epting, Michael Brown, Bob Gault and Ronnie Parker.
Honorary pallbearers will be the members of the Charlie Hall Sunday School Class.
Memorials many be directed to In Memory of Walter Johnson, BNA Park/ Sportsplex, c/o City of New Albany, Attn: Frankie Roberts, PO Box 56, New Albany, MS 38652, 662-534-1010.