Shirley Marie Johnson of Carthage, Texas

                                                                                                                                                              Shirley Johnson

February 26, 1950 – May 24, 2020

Shirley Marie Johnson of Carthage, Texas passed away on Sunday, May 24, 2020 at her home after over 35 years of being on dialysis as a result of systemic lupus erythematosus. After a courageous struggle with dialysis and all of the long range complications associated with it, she succumbed.  She was 70.


On February 26. 1950, Shirley was born in Haslam, TX to Big John & Virginia Thomas, both of whom preceded her in death.  She was married to Johnny Ray Johnson, Sr.  To this union, 2 children were born, Johnny Ray Johnson, Jr. and John Bethel Johnson.  After Johnny Jr married Jennifer Bradford, they gave Shirley her only grandchild, Johnny Ray Johnson III.  Everybody that knew Shirley knew that this little fellow was the “apple” of her eye.  He’s 13 now.  Shirley was the 7th of 13 children, and the 4th daughter of 6 – Evelyn Cooper of Tyler, TX; John Bethel Thomas, Jr. (deceased); Dr. Clyde Thomas of Omaha, NE (deceased); Geraldine Steele of Center, TX; Joe Leonard Thomas (deceased); Delois Stripling (Verlon) of San Augustine, TX; William Thomas, Sr. (Maria) of Tyler, TX; Sarah Coats of Mesquite, TX; Joyce Mitchell (Joe) of Garland, TX; David Thomas (Andrea) of Dallas, TX; Eric Thomas of Amarillo (deceased), and one miscarriage.


Shirley attended Central Elementary School in Joaquin, TX, CH Daniels High School, in Center, TX, and Prairie View A&M College in Prairie View, TX where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Mathematics. After college, she became a teacher, with her 1st job being with Burton ISD in Burton, TX.  Shortly after that she moved to Carthage to become a Math teacher there until she retired in 1994.


Shirley got saved at 18 years of age, and she walked upright before God her whole life long until He called her home.  Over the course of her life, she was faithful to the church as the musician at Lily of the Valley COGIC in Center, TX and First Church of God in Christ. She later became the Carthage District Musician as well.  She was also the assistant Bible Band Teacher, the assistant Women’s Sunday School Teacher, and the Announcement Clerk.


Shirley lived an exemplary life and impacted the lives of many as she went from city to city teaching the Gospel and encouraging people to give their lives to God.  For years she had a weekly Bible Class in Center. Prior to the class she would go throughout the city witnessing and passing out religious booklets while inviting people to come to Bible Class.  She is truly missed by us all.


There will be a public viewing on Friday, May 29, 2020 from 4 – 6pm in Center, TX at Hicks Mortuary.  The funeral service for Shirley will be Saturday, May 30, 2020 in Center, TX.  However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the service will be private and not open to the public. For those not attending the funeral, we would like to offer you the opportunity to pay your respects by sharing your written memories and reflections of Shirley along with a picture if you have one. All who send their written memories will receive a copy of the consolidated memories once they are published. Please send to

The Light and Champion

137 San Augustine St.
Center TX 75935