JOHNSON, JACOB EDGAR (1933 ~ 2014). The following is an obituary for former Texas House Member Jacob Johnson. The obituary was published in the Houston Chronicle on October 23, 2014.
Jacob Edgar "Jake" Johnson, Attorney and former Texas Representative, died Sunday, the 19th of October 2014, in Pinehurst, North Carolina, surrounded by his family.
Wife, Hon. Carolyn Marks Johnson, former judge in the 189th District Court in Harris County, and his children, said he died after surgery from a stroke. Born on the 5th of January 1933, Johnson, age 81, loved to play golf and had recently shot his age in golf. He was getting ready for an early tee time with two sons-in-law, Shawn West of Sugar Land, Chris Larkin of Chicago and brother-in-law Richard Marks of Brown Summit, N.C., when he died.
A Houston trial lawyer for 50 years, Johnson was also a former Captain and pilot for the United States Marine Corp., was an ROTC instructor at Milby High School and history and government teacher at Jones Middle School.
Born in Kleberg County, Texas, he grew up in South Texas and in the Brookhaven, Mississippi area during the Great Depression. His Mother, Frances Edna White, was a dietician at Perkinson High School and College. Johnson received his early education there. His father, Clarence S. Johnson, worked in the oil fields around the King Ranch area. Jake Johnson was a civilian flight instructor for the US Army in San Marcos, Texas, and came to Houston as a reserve in the Marine Corps and finished a bachelor's degree in history from The University of Houston and a doctor of jurisprudence from the South Texas College of Law. One of his instructors, the Hon. F. Lee Duggan, inspired him to run for the Texas Legislature. A tireless politician, he ran countywide as a Democrat, and enjoyed his close wins in 1964 and 1966. He served through a Special Session in 1968 and retired from the Legislature to practice law.
As a lawyer, Johnson represented many people who had been turned away by other lawyers. He enjoyed the challenge of a hard case, thrived in trial and loved being in the presence of a jury. He felt law was a calling and that lawyers were privileged to speak for others. He and former State Representative Mike Martin received a $7 million dollar verdict in one of the earliest cases to persuade a jury that benzene exposure caused melanoma. He also represented the Roloff School and Ministry when Brother Roloff and three passengers died in a crash of a single-engine Cessna. In the last years of his practice, he and daughter Ann Johnson closed out his career with an East Texas accident causing injury to several family members. He retired to play golf three and four times a week. Daughter Ann Johnson, who handled the landmark In re B.W. case before the Texas Supreme Court returned to the Harris County District Attorney's Office to become the Human Trafficking specialist for the late Mike Anderson and continues to serve in that position for District Attorney Devon Anderson.
Johnson loved his family and children and spent this past summer being an incredible grandfather to his young grandsons and nieces and nephews. He and Carolyn were building an artist/writer's retreat with the help of Uncle Jimmy Marks.
Son Jacob Dwight Johnson followed his father into the military as a pilot for the United States Navy and was awarded the distinguished Flying Cross for his service in Dessert Storm. Still involved in aviation and in work as an expert in that field, Dwight is married to Page and they have two daughters Sarah and Emma Johnson. Both are interested in theatre.
Daughter Cissy is married to Chris Larkin; they live in Chicago and Tyler where she is setting up a residential mortgage branch for American State Bank of Tyler.
Daughter Cynthia Straughan is a licensed civil engineer with Bachelors and Masters from University of Houston, and has her own engineering firm. She is married to Dave Straughan who is the Director of Security for Cy-Fair School District. Cynthia has three daughters, Emily Kelsch, Katherine Kelsch Tournier (Eric), and Kimberly Straughan.
Daughter Frances Kenyon is an IT specialist for the Woodville Schools and her husband Dr. George Kenyon teaches business systems management at Lamar University in Beaumont. Granddaughter Jessie (Delane, they have one son,AJ, and three daughters Gabriella, Bella, and Lily). Grandson, Lt. Jonathan Kenyon (Carla) is in the US Army.
Daughter Jennifer (Shawn) West is a former Youth Director at Saint Paul's United Methodist Church. She and Shawn, a Vice President at Fluor Corporation, have 3 children and have lived in Venezuela and Abu Dhabi, places Poppi enjoyed visiting very much. Having already trained the others, "Poppi" spent much of this last Summer watching Granddaughter Ann Marie play volleyball and teaching Grandsons Jon and Jake to enjoy the symphony, golf, go-carting and the Galveston Flight Museum.
Johnson loved retirement. He enjoyed driving, wife Carolyn, to work nearly every day before he headed to the golf course with long-time friends, David Ritchie, Bill Anderson and John Huckeba, who are honorary pall bearers, along with Hon. A. R. (Babe) Schwartz (Marilyn), Hon. Carl A. Parker (Beverly), Hon. Neil Caldwell (Mary Lou), Hon. F. Lee Duggan (Annette) and Hon. John Ackerman (Barbara). On rainy days, he would head to Ann and beloved daughter-in-law Artist Sonya Cuellar's house where he watched tv, visited with So and received daily lessons in working email and text messages.
Johnson was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Billy, who died at 16, and James of South Carolina and a son who died at birth, Billy Edgar.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Carolyn, and all of the children and grandchildren written about above and nephews Joseph and Michael, and RJ and Chris Marks, Daniel, Glen, Keith, and Joel Johnson; and Mike Jones; and nieces Janice McAvoy, Carol Shaddix, Sandra Jones, Karen Sizemore, Kelly Russell; Corey Dease, and numerous "adopted" others, such as Melody Pruser and Melissa Campos, and four brothers-in-law: Jim (Ann); Richard (Diane); David (Gloria); and Darrell (Susan) Marks; first wife Jo, extended family Kevin Taylor, Frank Cooper and Kurt Kelsch and his special longtime legal assistant Darinda McLane, all of whom were dear to his heart.
Johnson was over six feet and a handsome man who lived life fully and finished his bucket list when he shot his age! The next week he shot a 77!
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o'clock in the afternoon until seven o'clock in the evening on Thursday, the 23rd of October, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 5501 Main Street in Houston.
The funeral service will be conducted at eleven o'clock in the morning on Friday, the 24th of October, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held in Fondren Hall.
Later that day, the family will gather for a private interment at sunset at Texas State Cemetery in Austin.
In lieu of customary remembrances, for those desiring, contributions, in Jake's memory, may be directed to St. Paul's United Methodist Church Choir or Youth, Attn: Jennifer Rae, 5501 Main, Houston, TX 77004; or , 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.