Pastor Odell Johnson

May 18, 1928 ~ July 18, 2018 (age 90)

PASTOR ODELL JOHNSON, SR., affectionately known as “Brother”, was born May 18, 1928 in Branchville, Texas. He was the second child of five children born to the union of the late Horace and Cleo Johnson. Pastor Johnson learned to work at an early age as he helped to financially support his family following the death of his father. Cleo later met and married Tom Haynes in 1937, and to their union nine children were born. Pastor Johnson was raised in Cameron, Texas and unselfishly labored as a sharecropper with his stepfather to sustain their family.  His formal education was obtained in Texas.

In 1944, at the age of sixteen, Pastor Johnson journeyed with his family to San Diego, California seeking better opportunities.  The family settled in an area known as “Frontier” and established roots in San Diego and began to thrive. Consistent with his strong work ethics, he secured stable employment and was always looking to improve himself.  Pastor Johnson was an avid boxing and baseball fan, watching boxing on Friday nights and baseball on Saturdays.

 Pastor Johnson met the engaging Juanita Blackberry in early 1950, and they married later that year. To their union three children were born. Juanita passed away in 2006, culminating in fifty-six years of marriage. Prior to her death, Juanita suffered from a serious illness and Pastor Johnson cared for her in their home until she passed away into eternity.

Pastor Johnson was always in search of creating better financial opportunities for his family and in 1952, he began working for Cudahy Meat Packing Company. He worked there until the company closed in 1962. God blessed him to secure employment that same year with the City of San Diego Sanitation Department where he ultimately was promoted to Sanitation Driver II. He received numerous awards and commendations for his excellent service. Pastor Johnson retired from the City of San Diego in 1988 after 26 years of service. 

 Pastor Johnson always utilized his creativity and ingenuity to support his family and the ministry. He would resale items at the swap meet and recycle scrap metal.  He cleaned business offices after hours and would often take his children to teach them the values of honest hard work. Pastor Johnson also opened a small business repairing and selling vacuum cleaners at his home garage. 

In 1960, Pastor Johnson had a life changing experience when he was asked by a church mother to attend a service.   He agreed to go and never stopped going.  He later said, “The only reason I went, was so the church mother would stop asking me.” A month later, he gave his life to Christ and was forever changed. He began a life of ministry and attended Refuge Apostolic Church. He served as a janitor, Sunday School Teacher, Youth Leader and was ordained a Deacon.  He later fellowshipped with One Way Apostolic Church and was ordained a Minister in 1984.  He answered the call of God in 1986 and became the Founder-Pastor of Bethel Apostolic Church.  In 1987 he was ordained an Elder.  

Pastor Johnson and Juanita labored in the gospel, outreaching to those in need. They were faithful stewards and never received salaries from the church. God’s work was considered a mission of love for them.  Pastor Johnson also was a tenacious student in studying the Word of God and attended the Southern California Bible College. His dedication and commitment enabled him to be empowered by the Holy Spirit and become an anointed preacher and teacher of God’s Word. But most of all, Pastor Johnson was a humble man and would often say, “I just want to be known as your brother in Christ.” 

Pastor Johnson fought valiantly through many debilitating medical, physical and cognitive challenges. He fought a good fight, he finished his course and he kept the faith. Pastor Johnson remained an awesome man of God.

Pastor Odell Johnson Sr., departed this life on Wednesday, July 18, 2018. He was preceded in death by his wife, mother, father and a grandson, Thomas DeAgnelo Johnson. To celebrate his home going, he leaves his loving children: Patricia Johnson Mims (Theodis), Odell Johnson Jr. (Paulette) and Pamela Johnson Williams (Jack); grandchildren: Odell Johnson III, Willie Charles Godine V,  Bianca Mims-Schonberg (Allen), Tianna Marie Mims, Nailah Trought and Damon Melfi; great-granddaughters: Jameia Johnson and Elizabeth Godine; two brothers: Elder Jerry Haynes Sr. and Carl Lee Haynes; five sisters: Horace Mae Beverly, Tommie Taylor, Essie Jordan, Evangelist Alice Mae Thomas and Evelyn Samuels.  He is also survived by a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends in Christ.

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