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Whitfield Funeral Home
Little Davenport
Hamilton Mill

Hugh LeRoy Johnson

Obituary Date: Sunday, September 27, 2020

Hugh LeRoy Johnson of Clarkesville, Georgia passed away on Sunday, September 27, 2020 at age 92.

Mr. Johnson was born on November 02, 1927 in Jacksonville, Florida to the late Wilmer C. & Ollie Williams Johnson. He was a football letterman and graduate of Landon High School. Hugh married Barbara Hunter on April 21, 1951 in Miami, Florida and they enjoyed over 65 years of marriage together. They had two exceptional children, Rebecca "Becki" and Chipley "Chip."

A third generation railroader, Mr. Johnson began his railroad career in 1944 as an electrician with the Florida East Coast Railroad. In 1962, he transitioned to the Jacksonville Terminal Company as an Engine House Foreman. In 1969, Mr. Johnson went to work for the St. Mary's Railroad as a Mechanical Supervisor.

Mr. Johnson used his mechanical and engineering skills to entertain the neighborhood children in Florida and south Georgia. He found various abandoned contraptions at the local junkyard and transformed them into all manner of motorized vehicles.

In 1971, the family relocated to Clarkesville, Georgia when Hugh took the job as Clarkesville City Manager. The following year, Mr. Johnson began working for GE Transportation Division as Electrical Mechanic Leadman.

In 1974, Mr. Johnson founded Johnson Railway Service. With his wife, son, daughter, a truck and a few tools, Hugh built a locomotive repair business. He and his son Chip were highly respected for their unique technical and mechanical knowledge. In 1992, Mr. Johnson assisted in the founding of Chattahoochee Locomotive Company. Through Hugh's late son Chip, the family carries on this tradition of railroading.

Hugh & Barbara Johnson made Clarkesville their home for over 40 years and were active members of First Presbyterian Church of Clarkesville, Georgia and founding members of First Presbyterian Church of Cleveland, Georgia. Mr. & Mrs. Johnson enjoyed researching family genealogy and local history.

In his retirement, Hugh spent time with his family and friends and was especially energized when working on car restoration projects or continuing his lifelong interest in trains. He delighted his family and friends with his sense of humor and interesting stories. 

Mr. Johnson has reunited in heaven with his loved ones who preceded him: his wife, Barbara Hunter Johnson, his daughter, Rebecca Johnson Bisher, his son, Chipley Hugh Johnson, and his brothers, Wilmer & Roland Johnson.

Survivors include his daughter-in-law, Nancy Hodges Johnson; granddaughter & grandson-in-law, Kelley & Greg Whisler; grandson, Austin Johnson; granddaughter & grandson-in-law, Hunter & JT Sims; and great-grandchildren, Alice Sims & Hugh Sims; nieces, nephews, and other loving family.

The Johnson family would like to express their gratitude for Hugh's wonderful friends and neighbors, Dr. Kecia Jones & staff, Magnolia Hills staff, and special caregivers.

A graveside service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, October 11, 2020 at Clarkesville City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to Gideons International, P.O. Box 1855, Clarkesville, Georgia 30523, Habersham Homeless Ministries, 105 Dove Lane, Clarkesville, Georgia 30523 or Youth for Christ, P.O. Box 4555, Englewood, Colorado 80155.

An online guest registry is available at

Arrangements by Hillside Memorial Chapel, Clarkesville, Georgia. (706) 754-6256

Funeral Home
Hillside Memorial Chapel
(706) 754-6256
5495 Highway 197 S, Clarkesville 30523