Dr. Thomas M. Johnson, 87, of Smithfield, NC passed away on May 16, 2020, after a period of declining health. Born in Wake County, NC to the late John Milton Johnson and Velma Price Johnson, Dr. Johnson was Thomas to childhood friends and family, Tom to friend and neighbors in later (adult) life, and Dr. Johnson or just plain “Doc” to his many patients.
Tom was a 1950 graduate of “Old” Cleveland High School. Attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Medicine, and in 1957, the Degree of Doctor of Medicine.
Following a year internship at The Medical College of Virginia, he served two years in the Army Medical Corp, stationed in South Korea. Following military service, he returned to MCV for a year of residency in family medicine and met and married Sandra Lee Pope, his wife of 58 years.
Returning home to Johnston County in 1961, Dr. Johnson began the practice of Family Medicine, delivering babies his first 5 years of practice and looked after medical needs of several generations of families for 33 years in Smithfield and Johnson County.
During his years in practice, Dr. Johnson served for 10 years on the Johnston Memorial Hospital Board and 21 years on the Johnston County Board of Health. An advocate for the concept of home care, he served as Medical Advisor in the forming of home health services started by the Johnson County Health Department in 1981. He continued to serve as Home Care Medical Advisor from 1981 until 1988 when he was recognized as Home Care Physician of the Year.
Dr. Johnson was a member of the Johnson County Medical Society, serving as president as well as other offices. He was also a member of the NC Medical Society, a lifetime member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a lifetime member of the NC Wildlife Association, and a former member of the Smithfield Kiwanis Club. He was a lifelong Presbyterian, joining Oakland Presbyterian Church at age 10 and moving his membership to Smithfield First Presbyterian Church in 1962, where he served as both Elder and Deacon and was a member of the Ava Myatt SS class.
Following retirement in 1994, everyday held a purpose and a plan. There was plenty of time for his garden, fishing, hunting, or something to read, just never fiction. There were still things he wanted to learn! But cold or rainy days with nothing interesting to read and no ball game on TV, he would say “I think I’ll go over to Wal Mart and see some patients.” He missed the folks that had been a part of his life for 33 years and there always seemed to be someone or several former patients always anxious to give an update on family and health.
Then grandchildren began to arrive in his and Sandra’s lives. They became a top priority! Time for visits with them and visits with us – after all, they grow up so quickly. “Life has many blessings!”
In addition to his wife, Sandra, Dr. Johnson is survived by his two sons; Andrew, wife Kathy of Caledonia, MS and David, wife Beth of Raleigh, NC. Five grandchildren, Drew, Tanner, Hunter, Christy, and Ryan. Two sisters, Mary, husband Don Williford and Betty, husband Wayne Cupp; sister-in-law Pat, husband John Phillippi; brother-in-law Alex, wife Barbara Pope and (Jim, deceased), wife Bonnie Pope; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to First Presbyterian Church Smithfield, P.O. Box 1159, Smithfield, NC 27577 or The Johnston Health Foundation, P.O. Box 1376, Smithfield, NC 27577
Funeral arrangements by Parrish Funeral Home, Selma, NC.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.parrishfh.com