March 2, 1935 – July 25, 2013
George Burchell “Burch” Johnson was born March 2, 1935 to Dorothy Galbreath-Johnson and John Henry. After an early death by his parent, he was raised by Carrie Collins and Mr. Willie. Burch left home at an early age of 13, and he joined the service when he was 16 years old. He was part of the Military Police, which was a job he liked.
After an honorable discharge from the service, he was a free spirit for a while, moving around Missouri and into the Joliet/Chicago area. While in Illinois he fell in love with a woman who was a daughter of one of the “Big Chicago Bosses” at that time. He had to leave that area suddenly when it came to light that he had African-American blood in him.
Moving back to Missouri, he married Frances “Doll” Moore and moved to Des Moines four years later. They were divorced after twenty years. While in Des Moines, he worked at the Bookey Packing, then later worked at Trailways Bus Lines, Yellow Cab and truck driving. When he was semi-retired, he transported the employees that worked on the trains.
He enjoyed motorcycles, and enjoyed riding motorcycles with his daughter, Karen. He went to South Dakota for a huge motorcycle gathering. Pictures were another favorite pastime of his. He has pictures dating back over several decades. And who can forget “Silky Smooth” when he had his CB radio. He could be on the CB radio for hours, talking to people throughout the world.
Later in life karaoke became his passion. He had his own music and microphones, and would sing at the drop of a dime for anyone who asked.
In the past decade, he gave up drinking and smoking, which was something most of us thought, would be impossible. Also, for the past five years, he had been faithfully listening to “The Shepard’s Chapel” on TV. He said the pastor made him think about things, and he changed his heart. He had started asking for forgiveness for the things he had done in the past. One such person he asked for forgiveness was Doll.
George is preceded in death by his parents, Dorothy Galbreath-Johnson and John Henry, as well as the people who raised him, Carrie Collins and Mr. Willie; his brothers, William “Son” Parker, John Jerry “JJ” Johnson, Thomas Johnson, and Estill Lee “Estillio” Johnson, those who he was raised with, George Kitchen, Opal Collins, Margaret Collins-Gatewood, Castina Collins, and Delia Collins, Ronald Vaughn, and his “adopted” Aunt, Mother Goode, his daughter, Karen S. Brown, and his son, Ronald “GiGi” Mozee. One brother, Jimmy Joe Johnson, his whereabouts are unknown.
George is survived by his children, Sharon A Brown, Ayeshah “Gwen” (Virgil) Miller, Linda Johnson, Castine Johnson, Christine Johnson, Pamela Johnson, Michael (Varsha) Johnson and Tony Johnson, his cousin, Amitt “Splooky” Carter, his nephews, George Vaughn, Jr, Charles “Iskey” Vaughn, and Charles “Papa” Vaughn, along with a host of extended family and friends.Information provided by: Henderson’s Highland Park Funeral Home 3500 Sixth Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50313 (515) 309-6550 www.hendersonhighlandparkfuneralhome.com