O. D. Johns was born a
Kentuckian but he died a Tennessean. He was born on January 6, 1922 at
Nicholasville, KY and he died on February 23, 2002 at Jackson, TN where
he had lived several years. He died shortly after having heart surgery.
His parents were Allen and Nettie Walker Johns. He had one sister,
Gladean Hoger to survive him along with two children, James Dan Johns
and Trina Lilly and their families. Also surviving were six
grandchildren: Lisa Bevis, Jeffrey Johns, Brooke Johns, Jonathan
Coffman, Dianne Coffman and Kenneth Lilly and two great grandchildren,
Nick and Jessica Bevis.
Some of the participants in the
funeral also spoke in tribute to the late Francine Johns, who died June
27, 1998. They married November 7, 1944. Officiating at O. D.'s funeral
were David Powell and Kelby Smith (ministers of
Jackson Church where O.D. attended when he was not preaching elsewhere),
and myself. Neil Ethridge led the congregational singing. The burial was
in the Ridgecrest Cemetery in Jackson.
O. D. began preaching in 1940. When he and I
entered Freed-Hardeman College in the fall of 1942 he was respected as
an experienced preacher. After Freed-Hardeman College he became a
student in Cincinnati Bible Seminary.
He engaged in 268 gospel meetings. He was a good speaker and he was
above average as a preacher. He was the local preacher in several places
as follows: Norwood, Ohio; Mayfair in Huntsville, AL; Dickson, TN; Allen
and Edgewood (now North Jackson), Jackson, TN; Milan, TN; Bolivar, TN;
Cairo, TN; and Millers Chapel. Many congregations were strengthened and
an innumerable company will be in heaven because of his teaching and
preaching. In every place he did local work he conducted an effective
As a preacher of the gospel he supported good works. He
loved and appreciated his alma mater Freed-Hardeman, and expressed his
love by encouraging students to attend and fund raising events. He
served on the Alumni Board. He helped start Jackson Christian School,
and engaged in recent years in raising funds. All his grandchildren
attend the school.
He asked that memorial gifts
made to be sent to Freed-Hardeman University, Henderson, TN or to
Jackson Christian School, Jackson, TN.
O. D. was 80 years of age at
his death. He demonstrated Psalm 90: 10. As a preacher he carried out
God's will. (Romans 10: 14-15.)
-E. Claude Gardner, Evangelist, President
Emeritus Freed-Hardeman University; 372 Mill Street, Henderson, TN
(World Evangelist Editor, Basil Overton
Commented: I asked E. Claude Gardner to write about our mutual friend,
O. D. Johns, and I am grateful that he did. I knew him nearly all of his
60 years of preaching and loved and respected him. He was an able and
faithful preacher, and one of the best speakers I knew. My Margie and I
also knew and dearly loved Nettie his great Christian mother. Let us
pray that God will send many more like O. D. Johns into the
harvest of souls.)
-World Evangelist, April, 2002, page 3.