W.E. and C.Z. Johnson and Bill Johnson

William Edward Johnson (1867-1936) was born to William and Bettie Johnson in Louisville. William was a teamster and Bettie was a laundress. William was the oldest of 4 children. On November 22, 1894, he married Charles Zephyr Thompson (1874-1962), the daughter of Charles and Helen (Morris) Thompson of Harrisburg, KY. Not much could be found about her parents. By 1900, the couple were living at 2341 Magazine Street in the Russell Neighborhood with William’s mom Bettie and sister Bessie who was working as a teacher. William was working as a letter carrier. On November 16, 1906, William and Charles had one son, William Edward “Bill” Johnson, Jr. (1906-1987). By 1930, Bill was a teacher and William was still working as a letter carrier. On September 28, 1936 William died at the age of 69. He was buried in Cave Hill Corner, Lot 2AD of Eastern Cemetery.

Between 1930 and 1932, Bill married Mamie Josephine Neal (1903-1959), daughter of Bristow and Johnsie (Porter) Neal. Together, the couple had four children: Mamie Dolores, William B., Gwendolyn Veree, and William, born stillborn. The family lived at 2343 Magazine Street next door to Bill’s mother Charles Z. in the Russell Neighborhood. Bill was the PE teacher at Madison Junior High School as well as the track and basketball coach. On July 21, 1959, Mamie died of heart disease at the age of 56. She was buried in Eastern Cemetery in William’s lot. Bill later married Helen (Anthony) Kean. On September 3, 1962, Charles Zephyr Johnson died at the age of 87. She was buried next to her husband in Eastern Cemetery. They share a headstone. On March 11, 1987, Bill died at the age of 80. He was buried next to his parents. A marker has not been found. At the time of his retirement, Bill had taught at Madison Junior High School for 45 years. He was also well known throughout the Russell Neighborhood. In a 1999 “Courier-Journal” article Evelyn Cook remembered the old neighborhood as a “time when Bill Johnson, the gym teacher at Madison Junior High, used to walk not only the schools, but the alleys outside, keeping order.”