Gilbert Lester Johnson, 81 of Sterling, VA departed this life on March 20, 2014 after a brief battle with kidney and heart disease. Gilbert was born February 11, 1933 in Arcola, VA to the late Frank Johnson and Laura Johnson Townsend.
He received his education in the public schools of Loudoun County, VA. He graduated from Douglas High School in June 1952 and went on to serve his country in the United States Army from May 1953 to May 1955 where he worked as a medical aide, drove an ambulance, and was a truck driver.
Gilbert married Ophelia E. Russ on November 15, 1958. They enjoyed taking summer trips on Gilbert’s motorcycle with about nine other couples to such places as Atlantic City and Virginia Beach. In the early years, Gilbert drove a mail truck and transported mail from Washington, DC to various post offices between Washington and Berryville, VA.
Gilbert was a gifted mechanic and worked for over 10 years at M&G Motors in Leesburg which was right next door to his mother and stepfather’s home. In March 1965, Gilbert went to work at Dulles International Airport as a mechanic on its mobile lounges. He worked at Dulles for over 22 years until his retirement in June 1987.
Friends would stop by at his home, his mother or mother-in-law’s home and would ask him to take a look at their cars and trucks. He always smiled, probably would have something smart to say, and then have the vehicle running in no time at all.
Gilbert had a nickname for just about everyone: Chewing Gum, Toast, Pistol Pete, and Buns to name a few – you know who you are! Mervin Jackson gave him the nickname “Wool Puller.” Gilbert enjoyed riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle, watching basketball, loved his Washington Redskins, and drag car racing.
On Tuesday, March 4 at Loudoun Hospital, Gilbert made the announcement to Ophelia and the hospital staff, after much thought and prayer, he had decided he was not getting better, the dialysis was making him sicker, he was very tired, and ready to go.
He saw what the strain was doing to Ophelia, although she did not mind, but he loved her too much to continue on. He knew he was blessed. He gave his instructions to Ophelia as to how his final arrangements were to be. Why would we think his funeral would be anything but organized, just like his garage. Who else do you know has all of their tools hung on numbered hooks and labeled?
Gilbert leaves to cherish his memory a beloved wife of 55 years, Ophelia E. Johnson of Sterling, VA; two sisters: Millicent Hunter and Esther Townsend of Maryland; two sisters-in law: Carolyn Ashton and Doris Russ of Virginia; two brothers-in-law, Steve Russ of Virginia and Gregory Hunter of Maryland. Gilbert leaves two nephews: Jason King of Minnesota, Lynn Ashton of Virginia, one niece – Kiesha (Richard) Robinson of Virginia, three great nephews: Tyrel Ashton, Zion and Zavier Robinson, and a host of cousins and friends.
A celebration of life service will begin at 11 am on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at the Loudoun Funeral Chapel, 158 Catoctin Circle, SE, Leesburg, VA. The family will receive friends prior to the service, from 10 to 11.
Interment will follow in Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Hamilton, VA.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Gilbert’s memory to Capital Caring 2900 Telestar Court, Falls Church, VA 22042.