Herman Johnson

September 22, 1919 ~ August 14, 2020 (age 100)


HERMAN JOHNSON was born to Hobson and Nellie Johnson in Westphalia, TX on September 22, 1919. He married Kathryn Lester on October 14, 1938.  Born to this union their children, Wayman Henry, Virginia (Virgie Mae), Mildred Joyce, Ernestine (Stine), Lawrence Edward (Larry), Herman Jr (Butch) and Vernon Allen. Herman moved from Lott, TX to San Diego, CA in 1944.

Herman passed away suddenly at home in San Diego on August 14, 2020 after living long and fruitful life to 100 years.

Herman had a warm and caring personality greeted you with an easy manner and ready smile. He was always a positive person who gave everyone he met a kind word and blessing. Herman paid very close attention to details. He had an eye for beauty and would always draw attention to women in the family.  He noticed everything from head to toe.  For example, whenever his granddaughters’ hair color changed to red or gold, he noticed; or, if weight shifted in any direction, he noticed.

Herman loved reading his Bible and listening to Jazz music. He also could sing. His entertainment at family gatherings would be to sing “At Last” by Etta James with daughter-in-law, Ameerah. He was an avid baseball fan of the Dodgers and other World Series caliber teams.  He loved spending time with his immediate and blended families. There was never a dull moment in the Johnson’s household. His children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great- great grandchildren, spouses and family friends loved him dearly.

Upon arriving in San Diego, Herman started working as a civilian at North Island, when airplanes had pistons and propellers. Herman earned the title of "Silver Eagle" - the civilian with the longest term of continuous Federal Service - started his career in April, 1946, cleaning WWII vintage aircraft like F-4U Corsairs, Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers and Douglas AE-1 Skyraiders for 94 cents an hour, plus six cents an hour " for dirty pay." With his Navy military service time of two years, Herman acquired 54 years at North Island, the most at Naval Aviation Depot (NADEP) North Island.

A farm boy from Lott, TX, about 28 miles south of Waco, Herman arrived at North Island two years before he started working as a civil servant. Drafted into the Navy, Herman arrived April 4, 1944 to work at the Officer's Club as a steward's mate. Before entering the service, he had been working in construction, helping to build Army bases around the state of Texas. When he was discharged in 1946, Herman was earning $54 a month. Although it sounds low by today's standards, the dollar an hour he was paid as a civilian made it a lot easier for him to feed a wife and two children (Wayman & Virgie Mae).

Half a century later, Herman was still working with airplanes. Now they are jets and turboprops: F/A-18s, F-14s, S-3s, C-2s and E-2Cs and his job is to prepare them for storage. A typical day's work involves draining the fuel tanks of an F/A-18 Hornet, filling them with 1010 oil, draining the oil, masking the plane and covering it with preservative paper.

As ·a WG-8 aircraft worker, Herman made more money than he could have imagined possible when he came to work at Naval Aviation Depot, North Island.   Herman found the job much easier, thanks to improved tools and methods, and the supervisors better than they were over seventy-two years ago.

Herman retired at 79 years old in September 1998. He stayed at the Depot because he liked the job and the people with whom he worked. With more than enough time and years to retire, Herman bid the Depot a fond farewell. "I like








working around airplanes and I have a lot of friends here," he said. "We have a lot of fun." Working at North Island made it possible for Herman and his wife, Kathryn, who passed away in 1984, to raise seven children. Although there

have been several reductions-in-force during his stay at North Island, Herman was fortunate enough never to have been affected by them. "Being a veteran helped."  Herman said he is thankful for the successes he has had in his life. "Through the goodness of the Lord," he said, "I have been blessed with good health and won a few awards."


Preceding him in death, his wife of 46 years, Kathryn; his children: Esther Mae Wayman, Ernestine, Mildred Joyce, Herman, Jr; his parents: Hobson and Nellie Johnson; five brothers; Andrew, Napoleon, Hobson, Alvin, George; three nephews; grandsons Jason Holmes and Rodderick Sykes (Ricky).


He leaves to cherish his memories: his loving children: Virginia Jenkins, Vernon Johnson, Larry Johnson and daughter-in-law Ameerah Abdullah Johnson; grandchildren: Leslie (Nathan) Lee, Michelle (Aanarai) Collins, Lynne (David) Turner, Deborah Booker, Tonya (Robert) Seals, Robert McKinney Jr. and Angelique Oates; great grandchildren: Andre Ford, Angelique Richardson, Curtis Turner III, D’Ontae McKinney, Jalyen Myles Lee, Jazmin Joseph, Jeremiah Turner, Jordan David Lee, Joshlyn Turner, Kameren /Valeria Lee, Kirshawna Johnson, Lae’Shaun McKinney, Manuel Cass, Nathan Kenaytta Lee II, Norman Milner Jr, Quincy Joseph, Rashon McKinney, Rayhon Collins, Robert McKinney III, Roshan McKinney, Tamika Turner, Tyesha Turner and Xierra Ortiz; great-great grandchildren: Aaliyah Roxanne Lee, Jelani Jason Morgan, Ajahnae, Noman III, Issac Kameren Lee, Tatyanna. Noryon, Azunte’, Noriah, Dearrion, Normiah, Kenneth, Nordayah, Alayisa Normayah, Kamihya, Kaiyel, Kyro and Curtis IV, and a host of Johnson family members near and far and wonderful friends.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Herman Johnson, please visit our floral store.


August 20, 2020

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
5050 Federal Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92102

Funeral Service
August 21, 2020

10:00 AM
5050 Federal Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92102

Video is available for this event

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