Lee “Bud” Edward Johnson

April 23, 1925 - September 12, 2020
Lee Johnson

Lee Edward (Bud) Johnson, 95, of Baxter Springs, Kansas, stepped from this earth into the arms of Jesus on Saturday, September 12, 2020, at Quaker Hill nursing home, following a brief illness. Bud was born April 23, 1925, in Baxter Springs, Kansas, the son of Claude “Buzz” Johnson and Lillie Bell Johnson. He attended Baxter Springs schools all his life and graduated from Baxter Springs High School in 1943. In June, he entered the Army and served stateside for over two years before being sent to Japan for five months. In 1946 Bud entered Kansas State Teachers College (now Pittsburg State University), took advantage of the GI bill and completed everything in 3 years except his Masters thesis in English. He started teaching English at BSHS for 12 weeks before he was sent to Korea, where he served in the Army from October 1950 to August 1951. He finally returned home at 5:00 a.m. early one August morning to begin teaching again that same morning. Bud was happily a lifelong resident of Baxter Springs.

On December 26, 1951, Bud married Carma Lou Johnson in Twin Falls, Idaho. They exampled a loving, God-centered marriage for almost 69 years. Bud remained in the Baxter Springs school system all of his professional life, teaching high school English from 1950-1956, serving as Lincoln School Elementary principal from 1956-1966 and Baxter Springs High School principal from 1966-1987, when he retired. During those years, Bud was active in various educational organizations and served as President of the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals. He treasured many close friendships that were developed with other educators.

In retirement, Bud did not slow down much, although he had more flexibility to enjoy activities he loved. He worked for several years as a consultant with the Southeast Kansas Area Agency on Aging, furthering employment for senior citizens. Bud took quiet pleasure encouraging and visiting with senior citizens, making his regular rounds and delivering Meals on Wheels. However, performing was always in Bud’s blood, so he was also employed as the resident comedian at Grand Lake Opry and Wolf Creek Jamboree in Grove, Oklahoma. There, he continued his act of singing novelty songs, tap dancing and telling jokes. Bud also took his show on the road and performed for many regional events such as school reunions. Even playing pool was an opportunity to perform. His father owned a pool hall during Bud’s childhood, and Buddy spent many happy hours all his life perfecting his skills. During retirement he participated in numerous tournaments with the senior citizens groups in Miami and Joplin, and won his fair share of them.

Bud was a member of the Kiwanis Club for most of his life. His hometown honored him with many awards, including a Kiwanis Club Award, Hometown Hero and Chamber of Commerce Friend of Education. He and his beloved wife, Lou, were honored as Mr. and Mrs. John Baxter and Grand Marshals of Cowtown Days.

One of Bud’s greatest joys was serving Jesus Christ and his church family. He was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church of Baxter Springs, and served in many capacities, including deacon, Sunday School Superintendent and choir member.

Bud is preceded in death by his parents and sister, Edna Johnson Craig. He is survived by his beloved wife and partner in life, Carma Lou; two daughters, Sandee (David) DePriest of Marshfield, Missouri, and Sallee (Rick) Barger
of Miami, Oklahoma; three grandsons, Caleb (Halie) Barger of Miami, Oklahoma, Brendan and Eli DePriest of Marshfield, Missouri; one nephew, Claude Craig, of Baxter Springs; and one great-nephew, Cleve Craig, of Baxter Springs.

Bud’s family is eternally grateful to Quaker Hill for the outstanding care they provided. Special thanks to Courtney, Tosha, Rhonda, Courtney, Karen and Amy for providing loving attention and ministration during the last weeks.

A graveside service will be held in Baxter Springs Cemetery on Saturday, September 19, at 1:00 p.m. Pastor Jeff Street and Claude Craig will officiate. Military honors and flag presentation will be conducted.

Contributions to honor Bud’s memory may be made to Samaritan’s Purse, c/o Derfelt’s Chapel in Baxter Springs, Kansas, or to the Hospitality Committee at First Baptist Church of Baxter Springs.

The family encourages the wearing of masks and social distancing be observed at the graveside service.