History of the Restoration Movement

Orbra Dean Johns


The Life and Work Of O.D. Johns

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 the North 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 radio program.

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 38340;

(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.

Directions To The Grave of Orbra D. Johns

O.D. Johns is buried in the Ridgecrest Cemetery in Jackson, Tennessee. This cemetery is famous for being the final resting place of famous 20th century country singer, Carl Perkins. The cemetery is located north of Jackson and just south of I-40. If heading east from Memphis or west from Nashville, head to Jackson and take Exit 82 (b) if from Nashville, (a) if from Memphis. Then head south one block. Turn left on Ridgecrest Road. About two blocks down you will see the cemetery on the right. Turn in the main entrance and head over to the west part of the cemetery. Not far in and on the right you will see the Johns plot. If you are looking to visit the grave of Carl Perkins, head past Johns grave to the rear of the cemetery. Look of a mausoleum the contains a number of deceased people. Perkins is located somewhere in the middle. Also buried in this cemetery is another gospel preacher, William E. Woodson.

GPS Location
35°40'00.5"N 88°49'21.9"W
or D.d. 35.666800, -88.822750
or D.N 35˚ 40.008' x W 088˚49.365'

Orbra D. (O.D.) Jan. 6, 1922 - Feb. 23, 2002
Francine Cooke May 29, 1926 - June 25, 1998
"Preach The Word"

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