Friday, May 21, 2010


Rev. William Maurice Johnson, founding Pastor of Grace Memorial Baptist Church for 46 years, died May 8, at the age of 87.

Reverend William Maurice Johnson, Pastor of Union Hill Baptist Church from 1957 to 1963 and founding Pastor of Grace Memorial Baptist Church, died May 8, at the age of 87. He was born October 22, 1922, in Bentonia, Mississippi, to John and Florence Johnson, the fourth of ten children. Eight siblings preceded him in death.
    Rev. Johnson attended school in Mississippi and became an avid reader. In March 1940, at the age of 18, Rev. Johnson preached his first sermon. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served on active duty during World War 2. He was honorably discharged in 1946. He met a local schoolteacher named Fannie Tolston in 1956 and on December 28 they married. The couple had two daughters.
    In 1957, the late Rev. B.T. Blumenberg sent for Rev. Johnson to come to Chicago. Rev. Johnson and his family arrived and he became Pastor of Union Hill Baptist Church. In November 1963, he organized Grace Memorial Church, where he served for the next 46 years, until his health declined.
    On March 5, 1996, his beloved wife, whom he affectionately called Baby Doll, died. In November 1998, he married Lorraine Toombs, who died in 2004.
    Rev. Johnson was active in civic and political affairs. He worked with U.S. Senator Adlai Stevenson, Mayor Richard J. Daley, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Congressman Danny K. Davis, Senator Rickey Hendon, Representative Arthur Turner, and Aldermen Michael Chandler and Ed Smith.
    Rev. Johnson was also active in religious affairs. He served as Moderator of the New Galilee Baptist Association; President of the New Bethlehem Sunday School, B.T.U. Congress; Instructor in the Baptist Ministers Fellowship; and was a member of the Baptist Ministers Conference, Baptist Pastor’s Conference, and the Sunlight Baptist District Association. Rev. Johnson was also a longtime member of the National Baptist Convention, USA. In the mid-1980s, Rev. Johnson traveled to Korea to minister with Rev. S.Y. Moon.
    Rev. Johnson leaves to cherish his memory two daughters, Jodi Johnson-Richmond and Rev. Terri Johnson-Compton (late Donald); two sons, Robert Johnson of Mississippi and Rev. Maurice Johnson of California; one brother, Robert L Johnson (Carrie) in Mississippi; four stepchildren; eight grandchildren; twenty-seven great-grandchildren; eight great-great grandchildren; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, many friends, and his Grace Memorial Baptist Church family.

1 comment:

  1. What business did a Baptist have with Rev. Moon?