Robert Charles Johnson, 65, died Wedneday, July 22, 2020, in Springdale. He was born April 17, 1955, in Sacramento, California, to Raymond Carter and Hildagarde Desine Miller Johnson. Robert is survived by his loving wife Paula; three daughters, Sarah Martinez and husband Jesus II of Bentonville, Catherine Johnson of Tennessee, and Jeannette Johnson of Springdale; one son, William Johnson and wife Michelle of Bentonville; one grandson, Jesus Martinez III and wife Kimberly of Bentonville; four granddaughters, Kyrie Johnson, Angelica Janisieski and husband Alexander of Siloam Springs, Daniela Martinez of Bentonville, and Letty Johnson; one great-granddaughter, Sterling Janisieski; two brothers, Jerry Johnson and wife Marianne Russo of Sacramento, California, and Roger Johnson and wife Carol of Houston; and many nieces and nephews.
Robert was preceded in death by his step-mother, Helen Johnson, and one brother, Carter Johnson.
A memorial service will be 2 pm, Saturday, August 8, at Mission Boulevard Baptist Church in Fayetteville. Please wear a mask and social distance. Livestreaming available at mbbc.us . Memorial contributions may be made to Mission Boulevard Baptist Church Media Fund in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The family wishes to share the following testimony which Robert had nearly finished at the time of his death:
I grew up in Sacramento California. I had a sense of God’s creation from my Mom and Nature. When I was around eight, I found a King James Bible at my home and started reading it. That is when God’s commandment came to me. I had a sense of God’s presence and lack of relationship with Him when Dad had health problems
My Dad retired after my sophomore year of high school. We left California and moved to Kansas for one year. I was exposed to church going people there. My family visited a few times here and there. We visited mostly Methodist or Catholic churches. That is when I became interested in religion.
My parents moved to Arkansas to retire. There seemed to be a church on every corner. My Mom and Dad started back into church going fell in with a Methodist female pastor. I had other influences from friends and faculty at Mena High School
When it came time to go to college in June of 1973, I went to three days of orientation at the University of Arkansas. I traveled with a fellow graduate of Mena High School named Curtis Powell. (He had a car.) From Mena to Fort Smith we talked about all the usual things young men talk about. Then, from Fort Smith to Alma the talk got around to spiritual things. I told Curtis I thought God was like the clock maker who made the universe, wound it up, and let it run by itself. He said I had a very little God. That remark hit me very hard. I felt embarrassed, like I’d said something stupid. Then he began to tell me about his view of God.
God made everything. God was righteous and just. Sin had to be punished. Jesus was God. He died on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, so I wouldn’t have to. That’s how he could forgive my sins. And He would give me a new heart that wouldn’t sin any more. Curtis said it was a free gift. God would give this to me if I wanted Him to. At that moment an excitement came up in me and I told Curtis I had it made. He asked me why, in a surprised voice. I said that if this is true, I’m going to ask for this gift. If it isn’t, it doesn’t matter anyway. That was the end of that topic. Our talk drifted off to other things.
Two days later I was in a dorm room by myself. My roommate didn’t come. While lying on the bed getting toward supper time, thinking all kinds of thoughts about being in a strange town, going away to college, what is in the future, etc. etc. I remembered my conversation with Curtis, and realized I was not alone. Jesus had come into the room with me. His presence was so real, I sat up and looked at the door to acknowledge His entrance. I did not expect to see Him with my eyes but I knew he was there.
The two of us were alone, face to face. I knew He was there; I knew who He was, and I knew what He wanted. He knew that I knew and He was waiting for my response. The unspoken answer “Yes” came gladly from somewhere within my person. I knew that something was happening, that there was a shift, a change, an event of some kind. I felt the need to express myself with words. As I thought of the right thing to say the word “accept” popped into my mind. I had heard Mom say something about people accepting Him. So, I said out loud “I accept you.” Then I waited a little while. There didn’t seem to be anything else that needed to be said or done, so I lay back down on the bed. Tears came to my eyes briefly. They were a sweet releasing kind of tears. The transaction was done. Complete contentment best describes what I felt. I lay there for some time just looking at the ceiling and basking in His presence. Then I noticed the room was getting dark. It was getting late in the evening and the dining hall would be closing soon. So, I got up and went to dinner.
I was drawn to the Bible. I bought a Living Bible and I started reading it. I changed to The King James Version that summer.
I was drawn to three churches in succession, then to Mission Blvd. Baptist Church. I joined in Sept. of 1976. At Church Camp the next summer, I recognized God was calling me to a special ministry. I changed my major from engineering to Speech and Dramatic Art. I started directing plays and working with the puppet ministry.
The fall of 1978, I started working for Guard Tronic as their computer programmer. While there, I was able to develop the automation of their alarm system.
When our church moved to 2006 Mission Blvd., I helped on the construction of the three buildings, assisting Danny Cavanaugh with the electrical aspects and more. When the Session House was remodeling, I would go several nights a week working on the electric after work until late at night.
Paula and I were in charge of the preschool at church for several years.
My vision was for media. God sent Lonnie Horton in the mid 1980’s to start KOFC Christian Radio. I was involved from the beginning and continued when Bro. Brian Disney bought the station from Mr. Horton. My ministry there was for more than 25 years. After the Radio Station closed is office, I started working at Air Tech HVAC until my health declined and I could no longer work.
One of my favorite things these past few years was spending time with my daughter Jeannette. We would hike and ride our bikes. Over a several week interval of time, we biked the entire Razorback Greenway. Every year we would watch “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Hobbit”.
In the late 90’s I started ministering to the people at Health South Rehab. Hospital. Every Sunday afternoon, I would go and have a short church service there. I continued this until the Pandemic this past Spring of 2020.
Our church started a presentation of how our choices in life effects our eternal destiny, either heaven or hell called “House of Destiny.” I would help work on the sound effects, lighting and staging of this presentation.
I loved singing in the choir. For many years, I narrated the yearly Christmas Cantata.