Johnson is remembered by some who knew him best
Long-time police jury member Hill Johnson passed away recently at the age of 82. Johnson was a police juror for a total of 17 years. Those who knew him had only kind words in remembrance.
Lamar Johnson, police jury member of the 4th ward, and nephew of Hill Johnson, shared his uncle’s memories. “He was a very good public official and a much better board member than he was politician. He tended to speak his mind. He changed the police jury from thirteen to nine members and changed the way the money was distributed according to road mileage in each ward.”
Johnson recounted family memories of his Uncle Hill: “He was the middle child of eleven. We hunted and fished all over the country. We fished in the Atchafalaya among others. He rode horses all his life, jumping them until he was 39 or 40 years old. We’d ride four or five days a week. We’d sometimes ride from Highway 10 to the city limits of Oakdale or to the city limits of Glenmora. He was a good fisherman, too. ”
When asked what his uncle’s legacy would be, Johnson said, “He was very mild-mannered, easy going, and people liked him. If you pushed him he’d set you straight. He wasn’t afraid of the devil himself. He was absent-minded, but he was tenacious and got the job done. He stayed after you until you made a commitment. If you wanted to know what he was thinking all you had to do was ask. He was very strong-willed and a very good guy. He was one of the best.”
Hill Johnson’s close friend, Judge John Saunders, also shared his memories. “Hill served on the police jury and was a very dedicated juror and public employee and worked very hard at it,” said Saunders. “He was capable and left no stone unturned on trying to get things right. During his various years of serving the Pine Prairie area in the 4th Ward, a lot of good things happened in the community at that time. He was instrumental in getting the Prairie Manor nursing home.” Saunders said getting approved for a nursing home in Pine Prairie was an uphill battle because of the laws and regulations at the time, but Johnson and a group from Pine Prairie would go to Baton Rouge and tell the state they needed a nursing home. Their persistence paid off.
Saunders also said Johnson helped to get the fire station built in Pine Prairie, and helped to build and develop the Crooked Creek Recreational Park.
Saunders continued his personal memories of Johnson: “He had a good ability to work with state legislature and other jurors. We’d eat and drink and tell stories. He never got tired and could go on forever. He was a very good family man. His children and my son would play ball together. They couldn’t have a ball game unless Hill Johnson was there. He and I would meet after the game and compare notes. He was active in youth baseball and his children would play, but basketball was the prime sport in Pine Prairie. He was a first class guy, a really likable fella. Until his last illness we used to go for rides in the community and the countryside. He would compare notes about road fixes because the currenty police jury has better revenue sources now, but he said he would have fixed them if he had the same revenue at the time. He’d hold his ground and defend himself. The jurors would pick at each other, but they’d be laughing and carrying on. I thought the world of him. Ward 4 was well-represented when Hill Johnson was their police juror.”