Hiram Johnson • September 29, 2021
Sergeant Major Hiram R. Johnson, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret), stood his final roll call at the age of 82. His late Marine buddies welcomed him home with open arms today, while those of us left behind mourn his passing.
Hiram was born in Butler, Alabama to Benjamin and Olive Skelton. As a teenager, he was adopted by the Richard Johnson family who relocated him to their Pensacola home. Hiram attended Tate High School where he quarterbacked the football team (go Aggies!); he was an avid Alabama football fan (Roll Tide Roll!). Hiram joined the US Marines in 1956 and found a home there much to his liking. He retired from the Corps in 1977 as a Sergeant Major of Marines, but he remained a Marine to the very end, living the Marine Credo ~ Once a Marine, Always a Marine.
Hiram never met a stranger, and his recollection of people and events of his Marine career was legion. He kept us enthralled and in awe as he recounted in detail, stories filled with inspiration, empathy, humor, and grit. Most of all, he had a tremendous sense of humor; his laugh was infectious.
Hiram served two tours of duty in the Republic of Vietnam. During his first tour he was severely wounded, recovered, and later served a second tour. In addition to the Purple Heart Medal, he earned a Bronze Star Medal for valor. His other military awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and two Vietnam Crosses of Gallantry, one an individual award and the other a unit award.
Along the way in his Marine career, Hiram served in the coveted role of Marine Drill Instructor at the Corps’ flagship recruit depot, Parris Island, SC. After his retirement from the Marines, Hiram served as a Police Officer at Naval Air Station, Pensacola. He was very active in the local chapter of the Marine Corps League.
Hiram is survived by his loving wife Frances and his children Brenda Johnson Compton (Jimmy), Richard (Lenora), Debbie Johnson Cook (Paul), Traci Johnson Dilley (Daniel); his stepchildren John White, Jamie White, and Lorie Bedsole. He is also survived by his brother Patrick (Joan), many grand-children and great grand-children.
Arrangements are being handled by Pensacola Memorial Gardens Funeral Home, 7433 Pine Forest Rd, Pensacola, FL. Visitation and funeral service will occur Friday Oct 1st according to the following schedule:
Family and friends 12:30 to 2 PM; with service to follow at 2 PM. Interment will be in Barrancas National Cemetery with full military honors on Monday Oct 4th. Funeral procession will depart Pensacola Memorial Gardens Funeral Home at 9 AM for graveside service at Barrancas at 10:00 AM.
Semper Fi, Sergeant Major! Farewell friend and Marine buddy, from all of us who knew and loved you!
URAAGH! Well done, Sir!
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