Rufus Clinton Johnson, Jr.

Funeral services for Rufus Clinton Johnson, Jr., 87  of Leland will be at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, July 3 at First Baptist Church, Leland.  He passed away after a lengthy illness on July 1, 2014, at his home in Leland, Mississippi.  Burial will follow at Leland-Stoneville Cemetery under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Leland.
He was born on February 22, 1927, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Clinton Johnson, Sr. in Meridian, Mississippi, an intelligent and athletic child with a keen sense of humor, a quick wit, a willingness to work hard, and the desire to succeed. After a stint in the Merchant Marines and graduation from Meridian High School, Clint attended the University of Mississippi, earning a degree in banking and finance.

While at Ole Miss, he played on the University of Mississippi varsity tennis team for 4 years, was a member of the M Club and Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, and inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa. His flair for business became evident during his tenure at Ole Miss, as he owned and operated a restaurant, The Gridiron, while in Oxford. His first car, purchased with a portion of his earnings, proudly bore a tag on the front, proclaiming “Who’d have thought it? Hamburgers bought it.”
Clint married Ellen Ann Condon on June 10, 1953, and became a pilot in the United States Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant and serving in Iceland, Malta, and French Morocco. Following his military service, Clint returned to his beloved Ole Miss to pursue a second degree, a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. Clint and Ellen Ann moved to her hometown of Leland following his graduation, where he became a partner in the family business, Peoples Drug Store, and they worked there together until 1997.  Though born and reared in Meridian, Clint always said that he moved to Leland as soon as he heard about it.

Believing the practice of pharmacy to be a service ministry, and community service a natural extension of that ministry, Clint devoted his life and his career to serving the needs of others, becoming a passionate advocate for his profession, his community, and his alma mater. He served as president of the Mississippi Pharmacists Association from 1964-65, attended 56 consecutive MPhA conventions, was installed into the MPhA Hall of Fame in 2003, named MPhA President Emeritus in 2006, and in 1970 awarded the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia, honoring his extensive community service.

Clint served on the Board of Directors of Mississippi Drug Company, and co-founded Delta PharmPac, a group that championed the advancement of the profession of pharmacy in Mississippi. He was appointed by 2 governors to serve a total of 12 years on the State Board of Health.

Clint was a devoted and enthusiastic Ole Miss Rebel, and headed several early fundraising efforts on behalf of the School of Pharmacy. He was a member of the Galen Order, named Distinguished Pharmacy Alumnus in 1993, and he and Ellen Ann endowed both the Johnson-Condon Family Scholarship and the Johnson-Abdo Family Scholarship, as well as providing a student lounge in Fraser Hall for the pharmacy students.

A dedicated community servant, Clint exhibited his great love for Leland and the Mississippi Delta through his service to many organizations and causes throughout the area, such as the Leland Chamber of Commerce, which he served in a variety of positions, including 2 terms as president and many years as emcee and toastmaster of the annual banquet; the Leland Lions Club, which he served as president on its 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries; the First Baptist Church of Leland; The King’s Daughters and Sons Circle Number Two Foundation as a longtime member of the Investment Committee; the Washington County Library Board for 25 years, including service as president; the Shrine Club; the Order of the Eastern Star; a 32nd degree Mason; Leland Historic Society Board; Leland Academy Board of Directors; the W.S. Witte Hospital Board, and King of the Leland Junior Auxiliary Charity Ball. Clint was proud to be an honorary member of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries and the Leland-Deer Creek Garden Club, as well as a Melvin Jones Fellow of Lions Club International. He served as treasurer of the Leland Investment Club for over 40 years and was a member of the Terrapin Club.

Ever the assiduous businessman, Clint diligently followed the stock market daily from 1958 forward, and had an ebullient interest in real estate. In addition to Peoples Drug, Clint owned Condon’s East Union Pharmacy in Greenville until 2012. When he and Ellen Ann sold Peoples Drug Store in 1997, they established The Clint and Ellen Ann Johnson Foundation with the proceeds, in order that the business so loyally supported  by the community could continue to serve the Delta and the many causes that the couple espoused.

Clint was an ardent sportsman, and was an accomplished tennis player and golfer. He played team tennis for many years, and relished frustrating many a younger and more agile player. He enjoyed golfing with the MSGA, and hit a hole-in-one at age 81. Clint enjoyed hunting and fishing, and belonged to the original Montgomery Island Hunting Club and Wilderness Forever in Port Gibson. He was a gifted bridge player, enjoying duplicate bridge and couples bridge. He remained an avid pilot for most of his life, and dancing with Ellen Ann was a special joy.

Clint’s greatest love was for his family, especially Ellen Ann, his wife of 61 years, who survives him. He is also survived by his children, William Condon Johnson (Cindy) and Wilma Johnson Wilbanks (Bob); 6 grandchildren, Elizabeth Johnson Randall (Trace), Benjamin Condon Johnson (Nancy), Reed Condon Gilbow, Elizabeth Gilbow Thomas (Bryan), Robert Rushing Wilbanks (Ashley), and Forrest Spencer Wilbanks (Victoria); 4 great-grandchildren, Pierce Randall, Pherron Randall, Augustus Randall, and Haven Wilbanks; 2 nieces, Jean Grobe (Bob) and Martha Boswell (Sonny); 3 nephews, David Booth (Nancy), James Booth (Scarlett), and Dr. Patrick Booth (Anne), Aetna Condon Booth (Dr. W. H.), his faithful sister-in-law; great nieces and grand nephews, and many loyal and cherished friends.

Clint was preceded in death by 3 babies, Infant Johnson, Jack Henry Johnson, and Ellen Marguerite Johnson; his parents, Rufus Clinton Johnson, Sr., and Wilma Holloway Johnson; and his sister, Josephine Jackson.

Visitation will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 2 at Boone Funeral Home, Leland.  The funeral service will be conducted by Reverend Jon Doler, assisted by Father Charles Bucciantini.

The family expresses their heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Guangzhi Qu and his compassionate and competent staff for their extraordinary care and support, as well as the caregivers from Grace Hospice.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Baptist Church of Leland, P.O. Box 286, Leland, Mississippi 38756, or the charity of your choice. Clint’s legacy of service will live on through the generosity of his friends.