James L. 'Jim' Johnson

James L. “Jim” Johnson, 82, of Atlanta, IN, and having ties to Huntington, IN, died May 6, 2020, at his residence.

Mr. Johnson was a 1955 graduate of Walnut Grove High School and later graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s in floriculture. He and his wife owned and operated Johnson’s Flower Shop in Huntington from 1962 to 1975. In 1975, the Johnson family moved to College Station, TX, when Mr. Johnson was named the endowed chair of the Benz School of Floral Design at Texas A&M University (TAMU), the only such endowed chair of its kind in the world.

He also served as the senior lecturer of floral design for the TAMU Department of Horticulture, director of San Jacinto Publishing Company, the director of the Benz Gallery of Floral Art and the director of the Benz School Korea, located in Seoul, South Korea. He became a world-renowned educator of floral design and floral art, influencing generations of floral designers and educators, and was later honored with the title of distinguished lecturer at TAMU. He retired from teaching at Texas A&M in 2011, earning the title of director emeritus from the university.

He enjoyed membership and leadership positions, often earning special honors within the American Institute of Floral Designers, Texas State Florists Association, American Academy of Florists and various garden clubs. He also served at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in College Station.

After moving back to Aroma, IN, in 2016, he volunteered at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. He was a lifelong member of the Aroma United Methodist Church and also a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Noblesville.

He was born July 18, 1937, in Elwood to Gerald and Carolyn Haworth Johnson. He married Janice E. Gieseke on Jan. 24, 1960, and she preceded him in death on Jan. 15, 1998.   

He is survived by two daughters, Jill (Sam) Allen, of Clayton, NC, and Jennifer (Rob) Matthews, of New Castle, CO; a son, Jay (Malinda) Johnson, of Clayton, NC; a brother, Tim (Kris) Johnson, of Atlanta; nine grandchildren, Dr. Aubrey (Dr. Justin) Hess, Samuel Allen, Jacob Allen, Gabriel Johnson, Lydia (Adam) Dohrmann, Jessie Johnson, Zechariah Matthews, Sarah Matthews and Adam Matthews; and a great-grandson.  

Calling is Saturday, May 16, 2020, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Copher-Fesler-May Funeral Home, 415 S. Anderson St., Elwood, with a private funeral service to follow immediately after at 2 p.m., with Rev. Charlie Hoover of the Aroma United Methodist Church officiating. Due to COVID-19, social distancing will be enforced and the chapel will be limited to 25 people at a time during the calling. Visitors are encouraged to wear masks; anyone who is sick, as well as children 12 and under are discouraged from attending; hugs, handshakes and embracing are discouraged. The funeral will be video recorded and uploaded to the funeral home website later that day for watching remotely. Burial will follow at the Aroma Cemetery in rural Atlanta.

Memorials are to the Aroma United Methodist Church in care of Copher-Fesler-May Funeral Home, 415 S. Anderson St., Elwood 46036.

Online condolences may be shared at www.copherfeslermay.com.