Edward Johnson, 84

Bethlehem Steel laborer

April 18, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Edward B. Johnson, a retired laborer and longtime East Baltimore resident, died Saturday of a heart attack at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He was 84.

Mr. Johnson, the son of sharecroppers, was born and raised in Blair, S.C., and moved to Baltimore in 1940.

During World War II, he served as a naval cook and was aboard the battleship USS Missouri at the time of the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay in 1945.

"He didn't talk about his wartime activities. He was very private about that," said his wife of 25 years, the former Dorothy Sanders.

The longtime Mura Street resident worked as a laborer at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant for 36 years before retiring in 1983.

Mr. Johnson was a devoted stoop-sitter in fair weather, his wife said.

"He liked talking to people, and one of his friends he talked to all of the time was former Mayor Clarence H. Du Burns, who lived across the street," Mrs. Johnson said.

Mr. Burns, who had been City Council president and later served as mayor of Baltimore from 1987 to 1988, died in 2003.

Mr. Johnson liked playing solitaire.

Also surviving are two brothers, Larry Johnson and Willie B. Johnson, both of Baltimore; and two sisters, Daisy Long of Baltimore and Carrie Buckson of Chester, S.C.

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