Vestal Royce Johnson was born to Bessie Johnson on August 22, 1927. He went to be with the Lord on January 21, 2022. He attended Jacksonville High School from 1933 to 1945. Upon his 18th birthday he was drafted to the US Army where he served at Ft. Lee and Ft. Eustis, Virginia. Vestal went to work for Roach Paper Company in December, 1947 through January, 1986. He then went to work for Butler Paper Company for 10 years. Vestal retired in 1996. He was a Master Mason for over 50 years at Jacinto Masonic Lodge #216 in Jacksonville.
Vestal married Freda Fortson in 1948, and they lived in Sherwood for 34 years. He was a member of the Sherwood Volunteer Fire Department for 27 years, retiring as Captain. He helped organize and volunteered as a coach for the Sylvan Hills-Sherwood Optimist Baseball Program. They moved to the Bayou Meto area in 1990 where he was an active part of his community by serving on the North Pulaski Water Association board of directors. Vestal served on the Bayou Meto Cemetery Association as Chairman of the Board. Vestal made many special friends while catering with Royal Foods for many years. He was a faithful member of “The Bayou Meto Boys”, a group of men who had grown up in the Bayou Meto area that met for breakfast on a weekly basis. Vestal thoroughly enjoyed their time together. Vestal loved to hunt rabbits and deer with his beagles. He was a member of the Manning Hunting Club for 43 years.
Vestal loved to tell a good story and make everyone laugh. In everything he was associated with he made lasting friendships. Vestal had lots of pride in what he did, how he looked, his home, and what he had accomplished in life. But his greatest pride was in his family. He was a great dad, even better grandpa, and the best great-grandpa.
As a child Vestal attended Ebenezer Cumberland Presbyterian Church. After marriage he attended Highway Baptist Church in North Little Rock where he was the Royal-Ambassador leader and boys assistant song leader. He helped start Stinson General Baptist Church in Sherwood. After moving, he attended Bayou Meto Baptist Church.
Vestal was preceded in death by his mother Bessie Garvin; wife Freda Fortson Johnson; and son Ronald Dale Johnson. He is survived by his son: Jerry (MaryAnn) Johnson, daughter: Peggy (Joe) Holladay. He is survived by his grandchildren: Matthew (Ricki) Johnson, Michael Johnson, Jennifer Holladay, and Kimberly White, great grandchildren: Jordyn Johnson, Marley Jo White, Jenna Johnson, special friend Dora Glass and many cousins and friends.
The family would like to express their heartfelt appreciation for the genuine loving care of their family to Cabot Health and Rehab, and Arkansas Hospice.
Visitation will be on Friday, January 28, 2022 at 12:30pm at Bayou Meto Baptist Church, 26200 AR-107, Jacksonville. Service will follow at 1:30pm.
Arrangements by A Natural State Funeral Service. 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas. 501-982-3400.
Remember your family over 69 years. Special childhood friend with Ronnie
Dear Jerry, Peggy and famiiies,
We will dearly miss Vestal. He was a colourful uncle and we have fond memories joking around with him. We send our love to you all.
Joe and Vickie LeMay Keeton
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
First met Vestal at Bayou Metro Church. He was a board member for North Pulaski Fire Department, and a great neighbor. He’d come till up our garden every year. Good friend, he’ll be missed! Prayers for the family.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Linda and Joe Tucker
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. We love you and are here for you.
Vestal was a special neighbor and friend along with his special wife Freda for many years in Sherwood. He has left a wonderful legacy and a beautiful family love and prayers for all family.
Debbe and I are so sorry for your loss. Our prayers and thoughts will be with you and your family through this time of sorrow. May God give you peace and comfort in the coming days.
Mr. Vestal was k e if the best nen I’ve ever met, always a stand-up guy & LOVED his family, so proud of them. I’m proud to call Vestal cousin.
Peggy & Joey,
My sincere condolences for the loss of your dad. He was a very special man – always had a smile and something funny to say. My dad admired him a great deal; he inducted dad in the Masonic Lodge when Dad was 22 yrs. old and he held it close to his heart. I can just imagine the b.s. going on between them now! Much love for all of you.
I worked with Vestal at Butler Paper and he was one of the best; a good salesman and a good friend. You couldn’t meet a more honest or kind and generous man. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
You will be missed my friend. ~Vernon Ray Hall, Pat Hall, and family
Are hearts go out to the family. He was such a good person.