Rev. Dr. W.A. Johnson


Rev. Dr. Willis Alexander "W.A." Johnson was born to the late Franklin Johnson and Mary Frances Dennis in Lynchburg, Virginia.


Dr. Johnson was highly intelligent and understood the importance of education. He received his undergraduate, master's, and a doctoral degree from Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA, and attended Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg, VA. He received another master's in Theological Seminary at the University of Chicago in Chicago. He also earned a doctorate in Human Letter from the Tennessee Baptist School of Religions. Through his schooling, Dr. Johnson received degrees in Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Divinity, Master's of Divinity, Masters of Theology, and Doctorate of Divinity during a difficult time when others did not want to see someone like him read or excel. He has used this knowledge to educate others by writing books and teaching at the college level.


Dr. Johnson was someone who talked the talk and walked the walk. He was a spiritual leader in the Bristol area and surrounding communities but also traveled to 20 countries preaching, teaching, planting churches, and above all, reaching out with compassion and the love of Christ. He touched many souls through his ministry and helped others to follow in God's footsteps. He helped to open churches in Central Asia, Africa, Haiti, Cuba, and South Africa, all of which are still open today. He also worked in television ministry for nearly 60 years with WLFG Living Faith Ministry reaching souls in Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, and North Carolina. He was a man that knew how to convert intention into action, allowing him to be a difference maker. Dr. Johnson was a Man of God.


Dr. Johnson was an old-school preacher and believed in being there for those he knew. If someone were in need, he would soon arrive at their home or hospital room as a servant with the Living Word. The saying if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life seemed to apply to Dr. Johnson especially. It was his love for God and people that allowed him to serve as the pastor of Lee Street Baptist Church for over 60 years. He was not just a preacher; he was also a father, grandfather, teacher, leader, servant of God, counselor, friend, and a man of God.


Most people picture a hero as someone who dawns a cape and tights, but for many who knew Dr. Johnson, the attire of a hero looked more like a suit and a Kangol hat.


Dr. Johnson was preceded in death by his first wife, Louise Johnson; daughters, Deborah Webb, Brenda Greene, and Valerie Stewart; son, Kevin Fersner; and grandson, Michael Fersner, Jr.


To cherish his memory Dr. Johnson leaves behind his children, Michael (Dorthea) Fersner, Willis "Festus" Johnson, Jr., Hope (Rob) Ampudia, Jerry Johnson, Troy Fersner, and Arthur Fersner; son-in-law, Robert Stewart; ex-wife and special friend, Carolyn W. Johnson; nine grandchildren, Marshena Fersner, Emmanuel Gudger, Iena Greene, Jeri Stewart, Brittany Yates, Megan Yates, Ashleigh Fersner, Kyle Fersner, and Brooke Fersner; two great-grandchildren, TyQuan Stewart and TyMira Stewart; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.


Services for Dr. W.A. Johnson will be conducted Friday, July 22, 2022 at 2 pm from the Virginia High School Gymnasium. The family will receive friends from 11 am until the hour of service. Burial will follow at Mt View Cemetery in Bristol, VA.

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