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Robert Loren Johnson

December 20, 1916 ~ April 24, 2017 (age 100)
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Brigadier General Robert “Bob” Loren Johnson, age 100, of Whispering Pines, passed away on Monday, April 24, 2017 at FirstHealth Hospice House.

A visitation will be held on Friday, April 28, 2017 at Cox memorial Funeral Home from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.

A Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Southern Pines.  Burial will follow at The Johnson Family Farm Cemetery in Whispering Pines with full Military Honors. Reception following the burial at Whispering Pines Community Center, Rays Bridge Road, Whispering Pines.

Bridger General Johnson was born in Fort Worth,Texas and raised in Chicago, Illinois.  He was the third generation in his family to graduate from the University of Illinois and the second to become an electrical engineer. He began his Army career with ROTC at the University of Illinois. Upon graduation he was assigned to the 124th Horse Artillery Regiment of the 33rd Division Illinois National Guard, which unit was called up for federal service before Pearl Harbor.  He was in the original cadre to form the new 11th Airborne Division at Camp Mackall, NC in January 1943, where he was Executive Officer of the 675th Glider Field Artillery Battalion.  While in North Carolina he met and married Mary Hall, a native of Southern Pines, before he shipped out to the Pacific. Thus he began a colorful and active career serving our country bravely and with great honor.  God blessed his future family by sparing his life on more than one occasion during his career. He made his first paratroop landing in spite of no previous training when given the Command of the 674th Parachute Battalion. He received a battlefield promotion to Lieutenant Colonel by General MacArthur. On one occasion his life was spared while during a reconnaissance mission he came upon a village just attacked by the Japanese, where everyone was killed and village was left burning.  As he left another reconnaissance group in a jeep arrived to reconnoiter the same village and Bob told them not to go in. They refused to listen, and as they entered, enemy firing erupted and all in the jeep were killed. It took several weeks to retake the area.

And there is so much more to tell of his war experiences - it would require a book!

After the war he returned home to his wife and began his career of 30 years with Commonwealth Edison and continued his 32 year career with his beloved Army as a reserve officer. He spent many weekends on duty with the National Guard and rose through the ranks via correspondence courses until he was given the honor of being made a Bridger General. He retired in l980 and returned to North Carolina with his beloved Mary, who died in l984.  

Someone suggested that he get back into riding to help his grief and that is when he started riding with the Moore County Hunt and had the idea of starting a polo club in the Sandhills.  About that time Shirley was dropped into his life and after a prolonged courtship, (he had vowed not to marry again) they were married and she became not only a bride but a groom for his 8 horses!  He bravely took on the job of being papa to Shirley's 3 boys and 1 girl (who was 10 at the time). He continued playing polo till he was 84, could work hard enough to tire anyone helping, and maintained his farm into his 90s. He was the youngest acting person you could ever hope to meet, even inspiring his nurses before he died. He will be missed by all who ever were privileged to know him and loved by those who knew him best.

To sum up with a quote: when an acquaintance found out Shirley and Bob were married, they quipped to Shirley, "I hope you realize, you married the most eligible bachelor in Southern Pines," to which she replied, "Yes, also Pinebluff, and rest of the the world!"

Survivors are wife Shirley of 29 years; sons, Blaise Johnson of Ca., Bretton Johnson of Tx., daughter, Bonnie Robertson and husband David of Gainesville, Fla.; step-son Matt Youngerman and wife Renee of Aberdeen, N.C.; grandsons Jeremiah, Matthew Johnson, Brantly, and Blain Roberson, Arianna and Alanna Robertson, Riley and Nick Youngerman Gracie Youngerman and Aidan Youngerman and great-grandchildren Aiden Johnson and Emmerson Youngerman. He was the most loving kind and gentle father, husband, and grandfather.  The youngest man that ever lived!

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Fisher House in memory of Robert L. Johnson, c/o  First Bank, 205 SE Broad St, Southern Pines NC.

Condolences may be sent to www.coxmemorialfuneralhome.com.

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