Former Maben mayor Johnson dies

By Terry Harpole

MABEN — On Jan. 19, the people of Maben were saddened by the word that former mayor Jim Harris Johnson had died.

He died between 5 and 6 a.m. Saturday at his residence on Harpole Street in Maben. Johnson was one of three sons of Kathleen Quinn and the late Dot Johnson of the Center Grove community.

Johnson, a 1960 graduate of Maben High School married Betty Burgess, daughter of late Mr. and Mrs. Frank Burgess. He had worked with his father’s timber and logging business for many years and drove a tank milk truck, and for many years he and his wife owned B&J Quick Stop.

In 1983, when Gwen Harpole Bell Perkins resigned as mayor, he was elected in a special election. A few months later he was elected to a full term as mayor.

During Johnson’s term as mayor, he was conservative with the town’s budget and always operated an open-door policy. During his term, the walking track around W.O. Bill Shivers Park was begun and finished.

Also, in his time as mayor, the town placed, with the help of citizens, the welcome sign on Highway 15 South reading “Welcome To Maben, The Home of Governor Tom L. Bailey, and Birthplace of Lt. Governor Amy Tuck.”

During his term of office as mayor, he worked for Fina Oil Co., now Devon, and was a good choice, as he personally knew people in the area who have oil leases with them.

Services for Mr. Johnson were Jan. 21 at Oliver Funeral Home in Eupora with burial at Center Grove Cemetery.