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MISSION – On Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 Paul E. Johnson Sr., loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather eagerly went home to be with his Lord and Savior at the ripe old age of 88.

He leaves behind a strong Christian legacy, to his family and friends who will be forever impacted by his lifetime example of service, friendship and faith.

He was born Dec. 26, 1922 in Providence, Rhode Island, moving to Brooklyn, New York as a young boy. His parents emigrated from Sweden coming to the U.S. seeking a better life. His mother Esther died when he was only 10 years old leaving a family of seven young children. His father married Victoria, also from Sweden, and eventually the family moved to Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. Johnson, a member of the "Greatest Generation," joined the U.S. Army when he was 20 and served in the European Theater during World War II. On D-Day he landed at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France. He served three years for his nation's freedom and was honorably discharged Dec. 6, 1945.

But perhaps even greater than his contribution to our nation's freedom was his contribution to the Kingdom of Heaven. He was a humble, Godly man who lived out his Christian faith by example, always sharing a kind word, lending a hand and praying for those in need.

Paul was a builder by trade and used his skills to support his family and generously donate his time and money to building churches and schools. He came to the Valley from Chicago in 1964 along with his brothers to help Rev. Richard Peel expand a Christian school in Roma, educating kids from Roma and Miguel Aleman, Mexico.

Paul and his brothers Harry, Carl, and Dave fell in love with the Valley and Mexico and sold their homes up north and moved their families to Sharyland in 1966. "The Johnson Brothers" did construction work in the Valley to support their families and devoted much of their time and money to missionary work in Mexico and Central America. They used their skills to help build many churches and schools and help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In his later years he loved to spend time at the family ranch in Encino. He loved to feed the animals, drive around in his pickup or Jeep with his grandchildren, or just sit on the back porch in his rocking chair with a cup of coffee enjoying God's creation and being with his family.

Paul was a great example and role model to all he encountered. Earth's loss is heaven's gain, but those who had the great privilege to know him or be a part of his family are better off for the time they spent with him.

Survivors include his loving wife of 25 years, Joyce; children, Paul Johnson Jr. (Sylvia) of McAllen, Suzi Haines (Richard) of Mission, Doug Johnson (Kathy) of McAllen and Kathy Carruth (Dennis) of Corpus Christi; stepsons, Loyd Henson of Phoenix, AZ and Jim Henson of Fort Lauderdale, FL; sister, Judy Pantzar of Tyler; and 14 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and six siblings; his wife of 40 years, Bernice; and his daughter, Cheri Sarver (Barney).

The funeral service was held Dec. 3 at Kreidler Funeral Home in McAllen. A committal service followed at Valley Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

Pallbearers were his loving grandsons, Rodney Johnson, Jason Sarver, Justin Sarver, Jonathon Sarver, Zachary Johnson, and Cody Haines.

Memorial donations may be made to Church of the King (Missions program), P.O. Box 5111 N. 10th St. #151, McAllen, TX 78504.

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