The following message is being sent on behalf of the family of the late Bishop Buford M. Johnson:

The Reverend Buford M. Johnson, 85, a resident of Cleveland, Tennessee, passed away this morning, December 21, 2006. He was a retired Bishop of the Church of God of Prophecy, licensed in 1941.

Reverend Johnson was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 8, 1921. He faithfully served his church in many capacities for 44 years under state and national appointment. He first served as Tennessee State Evangelist at age 20. Later he pastored churches in Battle Creek, Michigan and Anniston, Alabama. After graduating from Jacksonville State College in Alabama, Reverend Johnson moved to Cleveland in 1951 to serve at the International Headquarters for the Church of God of Prophecy as Press Editor for all church publications. For the next 11 years, he served as Assistant Editor for the church publication the White Wing Messenger. He was also responsible for the publication of the Happy Harvester. During his tenure at the church headquarters, Bishop Johnson also served 6 years as the first radio minister for the Voice of Salvation. In addition, Reverend Johnson swerved on the board of Tomlinson Memorial School and the church orphanage. While at headquarters, Reverend Johnson was also responsible for public relations, sending news releases from the Church of God of Prophecy to local and surrounding newspapers and radio and television stations.

Bishop Johnson was a prolific writer. He wrote and published 17 religious books and also wrote Sunday School literature for the Church of God of Prophecy for 40 years. Furthermore, Reverend Johnson was appointed and served as State Overseer for 20 years in the following states: Mississippi, Florida, Ohio, Mississippi a second time, and Indiana. When Brother Johnson retired to Cleveland in 1985, he served as District Overseer and the leader of the Retired Ministers’ Association. He also taught Sunday School at the Keith Street Church of God of Prophecy.

Reverend Johnson was a member of the “greatest generation.” He served in World War II as a tail-gunner on a B-24 in the United States Army Air Corp Squadron A-9, 350 2nd from 1942-1945.

Buford M. Johnson was the son of the late Ernest M. and Nannie Lou Johnson. His survivors include his wife of 64 years, Betty Jean Thaxton Johnson of Cleveland, TN; two sons and spouses: Retired U.S. Navy Master Chief Larry M. Johnson and Susan of Charleston, TN; and BCHS teachers Jerry E. and Elsie Johnson of Cleveland; two grandchildren: Morgan W. Johnson and Jennifer L. Johnson, and great granddaughters, Autumn and Allison Johnson, all of Cleveland.

Visitation and the funeral service will be held at the Jim Rush Funeral Home (North) in Cleveland. The family will receive friends Tuesday, December 26 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m EST. A funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 27. Internment will follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Retired ministers of the Church of God of Prophecy will serve as honorary pallbearers.